NEW DELI – Police in India arrested arrested 14 people on Saturday suspected of kidnapping, raping and burning to death a teenage girl, the latest in a rising wave of crimes against women in India despite a toughening of laws.
District Magistrate Jitendera Singh said the accused abducted the girl from Chatra, a village in eastern Jharkhand state, while she was attending a wedding ceremony on Thursday. Some of them allegedly raped her before letting her go home.
The village council leaders fined the accused 50,000 rupees ($770) the next day. Singh said the suspects beat up the girl’s family members for complaining against them and burned her to death after finding her at home alone on Friday.
“Two of the accused thrashed the parents and rushed into the house where they set the girl ablaze with the help of their accomplices,” Ashok Ram, the officer in charge of the local police station, told AFP news agency.
Singh said police were searching for the main suspect in the case.
India has been shaken by a series of sexual assaults since 2012, when a student was gang-raped and murdered on a moving New Delhi bus. That attack galvanized a country where widespread violence against women had long been quietly accepted.
While the government has passed a series of laws increasing punishment for rape of an adult to 20 years in prison, it’s rare for more than a few weeks to pass without another brutal sexual assault being reported.
Responding to widespread outrage over the recent rape and killings of young girls and other attacks on children, the government last month approved the death penalty for people convicted of raping children under age 12.
About 40,000 rape cases were reported in India in 2016. Many cases, however, are believed to go unreported because of the stigma that is attached to rape and sexual assault.
Source: AFP, CRT