A 23-year-old rape victim in northern India was set ablaze by a gang of men, including the alleged rapist, as she made her way to court Thursday. Police said, the horrific attack has stirred public outrage and shame over the scourge of crimes against women.
During the past week, thousands of Indians have protested in several cities. This follows the alleged rape and murder of a 27-year-old vet near the southern city of Hyderabad.
Protesters and parliamentarians are pressing for courts to fast-track rape cases and demanding tougher penalties.
The woman attacked and burned on Thursday morning and is now in a critical condition at a Civil Hospital.
She had been on her to attend a hearing when she was doused with kerosene and set on fire, police said.
“As per victim’s statement, five people were involved in setting her on fire. Including the one who was accused in the rape case,” Vikrant Vir, a police superintendent in Unnao, also told Reuters.
All five men have been detained, Uttar Pradesh police said in a tweet.
Police documents showed the woman had filed a complaint with Unnao police in March. She said that she had been raped at gun-point on Dec 12, 2018.
Having been subsequently jailed, the alleged rapist was released last week after securing bail, police said.
Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state and has become notorious for its poor record regarding crimes against women. The state also has more than 4,200 cases of rape reported there in 2017 — the highest in the country.
The Uttar Pradesh government came under fire in July from opposition groups accusing it of protecting a lawmaker accused of rape.