UK & World News

  • 23 January 2014, 19:20

Gang Rape Ordered By Indian Village Elders

A woman in India has been allegedly gang-raped by 13 men on the order of village elders.

The 20-year-old was reportedly attacked by the men in Subalpur village in West Bengal's Birbhum district.

She told the police she was gang-raped through the night so many times that she lost count.

"People from the village, men my father's age, and those who I knew as neighbours, as uncles and brothers raped me," she said.

She was accused of breaking tribal rules by having an affair with a man from a different tribe.

The pair were found by the villagers who set up a kangaroo court and levied a fine of 50,000 Indian rupees (£500) on the couple.

The girl's family could not afford to pay the crime and as punishment ordered the gang rape.

The following day the family sneaked out of the village and reported the matter to the police.

Birbhum's police superintendent PC Sudhakar said: "Our preliminary investigation has revealed that the villagers held a meeting and the morol  (village headman) ordered that the girl be gang-raped.

"Family members took her to the block hospital in Labhpur and after preliminary treatment, the girl went to the police station with her mother and lodged the complaint."

All of the accused, including the village head man who allegedly ordered and led the assault, have been arrested.

The village is the home district of the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

A few years ago a tribal teenager was paraded naked on the orders of a similar medieval-style village court in the same district.

The government of West Bengal is facing immense anger over atrocities against women.

In October last year a woman was gang-raped twice by the same men for complaining to the police. She was set ablaze and died of burn injuries.

All suspects have since been arrested.

Large protests took place in Kolkatta over the handling of the case by the police and government and now the courts have set up a separate investigation into the matter.

India has been reeling under the problem of violence against women.

The horrific Delhi bus gang rape and murder in December 2012 brought the issue into the lime light.

Unprecedented protests took place in the national capital and across the nation, and the government brought in new laws to protect women.

Fast-track courts were established to try cases of violence against women and punishments were made more severe.

Even with the changes there has been a spate of sexual violence against women.

Last week a 51-year-old Danish tourist was gang raped in the heart of Delhi.

She had asked for directions to her hotel before five men took her to an isolated spot near the New Delhi railway station and gang-raped her.

Last year a British tourist jumped off her balcony out of fear that she would be raped by the hotel manager where she was staying.

According to India's National Crime Records Bureau, rape is the singular fastest-growing crime in India.

From 1971 to 2012 the number of reports has grown by 900%. The conviction rate is just 1%.

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