15 arrested in eastern India in two separate rape cases
India’s eastern Jharkhand state police have arrested 15 people in eastern India in connection with two separate rape cases involving teenage girls, said officials as grisly new attacks against women come to light despite tougher penalties.
Police arrested 14 people in one of the cases after a 16-year-old girl, who had been raped, was attacked and burned to death in Chatra district of the state, after her parents complained to a village council. The village elders had levied a fine of 50,000 rupees ($749) on her two alleged assailants and asked them to do 100 sit-ups, said media reports. Enraged over the ruling by the village council, the alleged rapists were part of a mob that set the victim’s house on fire while she was inside. She succumbed to her injuries sustained in the fire.
Names of eighteen accused have come to light in this matter, out of which fourteen have been apprehended, said Inspector General of Jharkhand Police, Shambhu Thakur. The accused in the case include alleged members of the group that set fire to the house and members of the village council accused of failing to report the initial rape allegations to police.
In a separate incident in the state, a 17-year old girl is battling for her life after being raped and set on fire by her assailant. The victim, who was raped on Friday (May 04), is being treated in the neighbouring West Bengal state, said Superintendent of Police, Pakur Shailendra Prasad Burnwal.
The incidents come less than a month after India approved the death penalty for the rape of girls younger than twelve and increased the prison term for the rape of older girls and women after a particularly gruesome rape and murder of a Muslim girl in northern Jammu and Kashmir state.
Reports of sexual violence have been steadily rising in India despite the national outrage that followed the fatal gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012. Reported rape cases in India have climbed steadily in recent years to around 40,000 in 2016. Many more cases are believed to go unreported. Child rape accounts for about 40 percent of the reported cases.