UK & World News

  • 2 June 2014, 13:19

India Rape Protesters Clash With Police

Police in India used water cannon to disperse women protesting against the gang rape and hanging of two girls.

TV pictures showed jets of water being sprayed over the top of several hundred people who had gathered outside the Uttar Pradesh chief minister's office in Lucknow.

According to Zee and Aaj Tak TV stations, the protest had been organised by the BJP, who are in opposition in Uttar Pradesh.

The group, mostly made up of women, waved placards and shouted slogans for some time as police held them back before they started firing water cannon.

The demonstrators refused to move and attempted to continue making their point despite the soaking.

"We're not going to sleep, we'll be here, they have to stop this (violence against women)," one protester told the NDTV network.

The bodies of the two teenage cousins were found hanging from a mango tree in their impoverished village of Katra, in Badaun district, last Wednesday morning.

Tests showed they had suffered multiple sexual assaults.

The deaths were the latest in a string of violent attacks on women across the country, where many say not enough is being done to tackle the problem.

The girls are understood to have gone into the fields on Tuesday night because, like millions of families living in rural areas, they did not have toilets in their home.

Police have been accused of acting too slowly and two officers are among the five people arrested in the case. Family members say police ignored their pleas because they were of a lower caste. 

India revised its laws on sex attacks in the wake of the December 2012 gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi.

But the tide of sex attacks has shown no sign of slowing down. It is claimed that a rape is reported in India every 22 minutes.

The chief minister in Uttar Pradesh is Akhilesh Yadav.

Four out of the five are from the Yadav community, a land-owning Hindu caste that holds political sway in Uttar Pradesh.

Asked at a news conference last week about the number of rapes occurring in the state, Mr Yadav told a female reporter: "You haven't been harmed, have you? No, right? Great. Thank you."

The head of Uttar Pradesh's ruling party, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is also the chief minister's father, sparked uproar during the recent election campaign when he said rapists should not receive the death penalty because "boys will be boys".