Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Another rape reported in India amid protests against brutal acts

Another rape reported in India amid protests against brutal acts

A governing Hindu nationalist party lawmaker was arrested April 13 after being accused of abducting and raping a teenage girl a year ago whose father died following an assault by a mob led by lawmaker's brother when the girl protested about alleged police inaction in the case.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, head of the Hindu nationalist government, has yet to comment on the case, but the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, whose party is aligned with Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, said the murder had "shamed humanity".

It follows the arrest, on Friday, of politician Kuldeep Singh Sengar, from Uttar Pradesh state, who has been accused of raping the 17-year-old.

"We arrested the second person, a woman named Shashi Singh, in our ongoing investigations of the case on Saturday", R.K. Gaur, a CBI spokesman, told AFP on Sunday.

The family tried unsuccessfully for months to persuade police to register a case against the powerful local official until last Tuesday, when the family alleges Sengar and a group barged into their home, molested the girl again, tied her father to a tree and beat him. The alleged attack occurred previous year but only started making headlines again after the woman tried to set herself on fire outside the state chief minister's residence last weekend. He added the victim - who was 11, according to the post-mortem - has not yet been identified and that police from Gujarat's neighbouring states have been asked to help trace her family. The girl was forced her to take sedatives and during five days in a shed and then a Hindu temple, she was repeatedly raped by the juvenile and different men, including a police constable.

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Eight people - all Hindus - have been arrested over the killing, including four police officers and a minor.

Although Jammu and Kashmir is India's only Muslim-majority state, the Jammu region in the south, where the crime took place, is Hindu-dominated.

Underlining the political and religious tensions over the case, some members of the ruling BJP joined a rally organised by a hardline Hindu group last week to show support for the eight Hindu men accused of the crime, including the priest of the temple.

Scenes last week of lawyers trying to stop police from entering court to file charges against the accused sparked nationwide revulsion.

"They have resigned because of the way the entire thing has been presented across the country".

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"All they want is a fair probe and the real criminals to be caught". In 2012, the fatal gang rape of a young woman in the heart of India's capital prompted hundreds of thousands of Indians to take to the streets to demand stricter rape laws.

Taking up the case suo moto, the Supreme Court of India has issued notices to the Jammu & Kashmir Bar Council as well as to the Bar Council of India amid reports that lawyers in Jammu attempted to "prevent" the police from filing charge-sheets against the accused, as the victim belonged to a nomadic tribe.

"Can't think straight as more chilling details on little Asifa's case emerge...her innocent face refuses to leave me".

The girl went missing from near her house in Rasana on January 10 and her body was found seven days later in the forests nearby.

Protest rallies are being staged all over India on Sunday, with Bollywood actors expected to participate.

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Gandhi said her ministry would seek an amendment to India's Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, "asking for the death penalty for rape on children below 12 years".

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