LUCKNOW, India — Facing relentless media attention and growing criticism for a series of rapes, state officials in north India fired two police officers Friday for failing to investigate the disappearance of two teenage cousins, who were gang-raped and found hanging from a tree.

But in a country with a long history of tolerance for sexual violence, the firings also came as the state’s top official mocked journalists for asking about the attack.

“Aren’t you safe? You’re not facing any danger, are you?” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said in Lucknow, the state capital. “Then why are you worried? What’s it to you?”

The gang rapes, with video of the girls’ corpses hanging from a mango tree and swaying gently in a breeze, was the top story Friday on India’s relentless 24-hour news stations. But in just the past few days, Uttar Pradesh has also seen the mother of a rape victim brutally attacked and a 17-year-old girl gang-raped by four men.

Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state, with nearly 200 million people.

Official statistics say about 25,000 rapes are committed every year in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people. But activists say that number is very low, since women are often pressed by family or police to stay quiet about sexual assaults.

Indian police and politicians, who for decades had done little about sexual violence, have faced growing public anger since the December 2013 gang-rape and murder of a young woman on a moving New Delhi bus, an attack that sparked national outrage over the treatment of women.

On Friday, the state’s former chief minister lashed out at the ruling government.

“There is no law and order in the state,” said Mayawati, who uses only one name. “It is the law of the jungle.”

Hours later, the chief minister ordered that suspects in the attack be tried in special “fast track” courts, to get around India’s notoriously slow judicial system.

The girls, who were 14 and 15, were raped in the tiny village of Katra, about 180 miles from Lucknow.

Police say they disappeared Tuesday night after going into fields near their home to relieve themselves, since their house has no toilet.

The father of one girl went to police that night to report them missing, but he said they refused to help.

When the bodies were found the next day, angry villagers silently protested the police inaction by refusing to allow the bodies to be cut down until after the first arrests were made Wednesday. Police arrested two men from the village, and were searching for three more suspects.