Indian woman dies after being raped and set on fire

A 16 year old Indian girl would have been the victim of a gang rape and set on fire by two men died in hospital, police told AFP on Tuesday.

The girl was a Dalit, the lowest rung of the Hindu caste system, who experiences disproportionately high levels of sexual violence in a country with high rates of crime against women.

Her death on Monday came less than a week after two Dalit sisters, aged 15 and 17, were found hanging from a tree after they were allegedly sexually assaulted and murdered by six men.

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Both incidents took place in the impoverished northern state of Uttar Pradesh, home to an estimated 230 million people, where similar crimes regularly make headlines.

In the latest case, the girl from a rural area was allegedly attacked by two men and set on fire earlier this month.

She was transferred to a hospital in the state capital, Lucknow, where she succumbed to her injuries on Monday.

“We arrested the accused within two hours of reporting the incident and assured the family that appropriate action would be taken against the perpetrators,” local police chief Dinesh told AFP. Kumar Prabhu.

Prabhu said police have since been deployed around the girl’s house “to check on any untoward incidents”.

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In previous cases, low-caste families have been threatened or attacked to prevent them from testifying.

Activists say police often do not take accusations made by the marginalized community seriously and do not seek legal representation.

Last year, Uttar Pradesh authorities’ rapid cremation ahead of the autopsy of a Dalit rape victim murdered by an upper-caste Hindu sparked widespread outrage.

Nearly 32,000 cases of rape were reported in India in 2021, according to government figures, but many more are believed to go unreported.