6 May 2018

Indian girl murdered after parents file rape charges

11:05 am on 6 May 2018

Indian police have arrested 14 people suspected of kidnapping, raping and burning to death a teenage girl, the latest in rising crimes against women in India despite the toughening of laws.

Supporters of President of the Indian National Congress Party Rahul Gandhi hold placards in reaction to the recent rape cases in India during a rally dubbed “Jan Aakrosh Rally” (public outrage), in New Delhi

Photo: AFP

District Magistrate Jitendera Singh said the group abducted the girl from Chatra, a village in eastern Jharkhand state, while she was attending a wedding ceremony on Thursday.

Some of them allegedly raped her before letting her go home.

After her parents reported the crime, village council leaders ordered the accused rapists to do 100 sit-ups and pay a 50,000 rupee ($NZ1066) fine as punishment, according to the BBC.

Enraged by the punishment, Mr Singh said the suspects beat up the girl's family members for making a complaint against them and burned the 16-year-old alive.

Mr Singh said police were searching for the main suspect in the case.

Reported rape cases in India have climbed steadily over recent years to around 40,000 in 2016, or about 100 a day, with many more believed to go unreported.

Child rape accounts for about 40 percent of the reported cases.

Anger over the failure of police to stem daily sex attacks on children and women has boiled over since 2012, when a student was gang-raped and murdered on a moving New Delhi bus.

That attack galvanised a country where widespread violence against women had long been quietly accepted.

Several cases of sexual assault of children have come to light in recent weeks from different parts of the country, leading to an outpouring of anger.

The government introduced the death penalty for the rape of girls younger than 12 last month after a particularly gruesome case of rape and murder of a Muslim girl in Jammu and Kashmir state.

While the government has passed a series of laws increasing punishment for rape of an adult to 20 years in prison, it's rare for more than a few weeks to pass without another brutal sexual assault being reported.

On Friday, protests erupted in southern India over a separate case of rape involving a nine-year-old girl.

A mob blocked highways and sat on railway tracks near Guntur, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, demanding public punishment for a rickshaw puller accused of the attack.

The crowd attacked the accused's house and thrashed his son, media said.

On Friday, the accused, said to be around 55, was found hanging in a wood and police said he had likely committed suicide.

Police superintendent Venkata Appala Naidu said the girl who had been assaulted in Guntur was recovering in hospital.