LUCKNOW/GENEVA - A woman was hanged from a tree in India’s state of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday and another allegedly raped in a police station, police said, the latest in a wave of crime against women in the country’s most populous region over the past two weeks.

“The sub-inspector accused of committing the rape of the woman has been put under arrest while we have launched a manhunt for the three constables accused of being party to the crime,” a spokesman at state police headquarters said.

In total, five rapes were reported in 36 hours in the state. In two cases, the victims were hanged to death. Police are investigating allegations of rape made by relatives. Crime against women in India has come under renewed scrutiny since two girls, aged 12 and 14, were gang raped and hanged from a tree in Uttar Pradesh on May 27, the day after Narendra Modi was sworn in as prime minister.

Uttar Pradesh is one of the world’s poorest regions and has largely missed out on the economic boom that swept much of India over the past decade. Its population of 208 million is larger than that of Russia, and it has endured a string of revolving door governments that have pandered to narrow caste interests.

Chief Minister Akilesh Yadav met businessmen in New Delhi on Thursday trying to drum up investment, saying accusations of lawlessness were exaggerated.

“In Uttar Pradesh, not only is the atmosphere good but law and order, compared with many other states, is also better,” Yadav told reporters.

Yadav ran his 2012 election campaign on being a modernizer, advocating the use of technology to transform the state. Instead, his term in office has been marred by a spate of riots, gangsterism, and now, sex crimes.

His father, a former chief minister widely seen as the power behind the throne in the state, drew widespread condemnation earlier this year when he said rape laws should be softened and that “boys will be boys” - sometimes committing rape by mistake.

As in many parts of the world, conservative Indian leaders across the political spectrum frequently blame rape on the victims’ dress and social behaviour.

Modi broke his silence on the issue in a speech to parliament on Wednesday, saying India needed to protect and respect women and that the government needed to act. He also asked politicians to refrain from making comments about why rape happened. A senior member of Modi’s own party last week said rape was a social issue, and “sometimes right, sometimes wrong.”

Meanwhile, India has rebuffed accusations by a UN investigator that sex crimes are rife in the world’s biggest democracy, calling her analysis “simplistic” and full of “sweeping generalisations”.

India’s large northern state of Uttar Pradesh has seen a wave of violence and sex crimes, including the rape and murder of two girls aged 12 and 14, which stirred national outrage.

The United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, said violence against women was systematic and continued “from womb to tomb” in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. “According to numerous interlocutors, the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of women in the private sphere is widely tolerated by the State and the community,” Manjoo wrote.

In its response, posted on the Council’s website on Thursday, India called that allegation “baseless”. It said she had made “unsubstantiated yet sweeping generalisations”.

“We do not agree with the labelling of ‘violence against women in India as systematic’,” India said. “Such a sweeping remark smacks of a highly prejudiced state of mind.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that respecting and protecting women should be a priority for the 1.25 billion people in India. “The government will have to act,” Modi said, breaking his silence on the crime wave.

Manjoo, a South African law professor, said India should try to raise awareness of practices such as acid attacks against women who refuse a marriage proposal, so-called honour crimes where family members murder a woman because they believe she has dishonoured them for example by opposing an arranged marriage, as well as executions of women branded as “witches”.

Her report ranged from decrying degrading tests used on rape victims to urging India to define marital rape as a criminal offence and to repeal a law that criminalised consensual same-sex behaviour.

On honour killings, the government said it gave “due consideration” to an Indian Law Commission report that had suggested a legal framework to tackle the practice.

It said “witch-hunts” were not a national phenomenon and complaints were always investigated. It said Manjoo should have informed the government if she knew of specific cases where there had been a complaint but no investigation.

India’s response to Manjoo’s report listed 16 allegations that it said were not backed up by facts. The examples it gave included her claim that sexual violence was widespread across the country, that members of the security forces had committed mass rapes, that trafficking of women and girls to and from India was widespread, and that police and officials discriminated against people from certain castes.