24 Jan 2014

Outrage in India over gang rape

6:14 am on 24 January 2014

A woman is reported to have been gang-raped by twelve men in the Indian state of West Bengal, apparently on the orders of village elders.

It is understood the elders objected to the 20-year-old victim's relationship with a man from a different community. Police have arrested twelve suspects and the head of the village council.

The woman was admitted to hospital in a critical condition and is being cared for by a five-member medical team.

The incident has led to outrage in India with some describing it as "inhuman and completely outrageous" and many calling for a quick trial and punishment for the rapists.

Police said the latest incident on Monday night was prompted by the relationship between a woman belonging to the Santhal tribal group and a non-tribal man from a nearby village in Birbhum district.

Birbhum police chief C Sudhakar told the BBC that when the man visited the woman's home with a proposal of marriage, villagers spotted him and organised a 'kangaroo court'.

The head of the village council fined the couple 25,000 rupees and the man paid up, but the woman's family were unable to pay. Mr Sudhakar said the headman, who is a distant relative of the woman, then allegedly ordered the rape.