Indian elders order woman raped

Indian protesters hold candles and posters during a rally following the death of a gang-rape victim in the Indian capital. <i>AFP PHOTO</i>
Indian protesters hold candles and posters during a rally following the death of a gang-rape victim in the Indian capital. AFP PHOTO

Indian police have arrested 13 people after a woman was allegedly gang-raped on orders from tribal village elders who objected to her relationship with a man, an officer said Thursday.

The attack took place Tuesday in a remote village in West Bengal state, where the unmarried woman from the Santhal tribal group was suspected of a relationship with a Muslim man from another village.

The incident again highlighted India’s dismal record on preventing sexual violence, after the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi in December 2012 sparked angry protests about the treatment of women.

Politicians denounced the latest attack as “outrageous”, while women’s groups said it showed how little things have changed for women since 2012 in a deeply patriarchal nation.

The elders, who comprise the informal village council, initially fined her family 25,000 rupees (400 dollars) but they were too poor to pay, district police superintendent C. Sudhakar told AFP.

“The girl was gang-raped for having an affair with a youth of another community and failing to pay the fine which was imposed by the village council,” he said.

“All 13 men, including the chief of the village council, who were named in the complaint before the police, were arrested.”

The woman, her head wrapped in a scarf, confirmed the attack when confronted by television crews, saying softly: “They raped me … all of them were my father’s age.”[Full article]