Monday 22 January 2018

Man arrested after girl raped and set alight in India

15-year-old dies in a New Delhi hospital after telling police the suspect was stalking her for months

There was much protest in India after the Delhi gang rape and murder case
There was much protest in India after the Delhi gang rape and murder case

A 15-year-old girl died on Wednesday after being raped and set on fire on the rooftop terrace of her family's home in a village outside the city, police said.

The attack is just one of several recently reported cases of rapes of women or children in India - underlining the persistence of such violence despite a public outcry three years ago that led to stronger laws against sexual assault.

Read More: Teenage girl raped and set on fire fights for life with 95 per cent burns

In the latest case, police have arrested a 20-year-old man and charged him with raping and burning the girl to death on Monday in Tigri village, near the New Delhi suburb of Noida in the state of Uttar Pradesh, according to constable Yadram Singh of the Bisrakh police station.

Mr Singh said the man "had burns on his hands" and was charged with several offences, including rape, attempted murder, assault of a minor and causing grievous injury.

Indian newspapers said the victim had burns on 95 per cent of her body.

Mr Singh's police report on the case describes how the girl's parents found her after hearing her screaming from the rooftop terrace a few hours before dawn Monday.

The girl later told police that she was raped, beaten and then set on fire by a man who she said had been stalking her for months, said Mr Singh.

India's women and children are considered particularly vulnerable to sexual violence and harassment because of widespread social taboos against speaking out about sexual assault. The stigma is enough to keep many from even reporting crimes, while many others face police resistance in filing complaints.

Experts say that has started to change since the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012 triggered national anger and demands that more be done for women's safety.

The government rushed through legislation to double prison terms for rape, and to criminalize voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women. But activists say more action is needed, including better educating youths and adding basic safety infrastructure such as street lights and public bathrooms.

The public debate has also increased Indian newspaper reports of rape and assault, including several in just the last few days.

On Monday, police in the financial capital of Mumbai said they were investigating whether a four-year-old girl whose body was dumped in the bushes on the city's outskirts had been raped before being killed, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. The girl reportedly went missing after being separated from her mother at a railway station Sunday night.


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