The semi-nude body of the victim was found hanging with a saree from a tree in Ranipur area, Additional Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar Singh said.

Three persons were arrested immediately.

The woman, belonging to a backward caste, went missing last night, the ASP said.

Though the family alleged rape and subsequent murder, a police officer said the post-mortem report has inferred nothing like this. "There is no evidence of any sexual assault though the family has alleged the deceased was raped and then hung from the tree," district police chief Happy Guptan said.

Police officials claim the family hanged her on the tree to draw media attention.

The victim was a resident of Loniyanpur village in Ranipur.

The victim was heading to Lucknow for treatment when her son informed her on mobile that she had become a grandmother and asked her to return immediately. On reaching Bahraich, the woman called up her son to pick her up and when he reached there, he found his mother missing, family alleged.

In a complaint to police, the family named five persons who they alleged had committed the crime, the ASP said.

An FIR had been registered against Vijay, Raju, Onkar, Ramswarup and Naeem under section IPC 302 (murder), section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and section 376 (rape), Singh said.

Promising quick action, UP Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan told reporters in Delhi: "Our officials are active and they have reached the spot. We will take action very soon. We assure you action will be taken."

Locals alleged the woman had enmity with some persons involved in the liquor trade.

She had made a complaint against them earlier also, they said.

Nearly two weeks ago, two cousins, aged 14 and 15, were found hanging from a tree in Badaun district after they were allegedly gang-raped and murdered


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