News & Current Affairs

Teenage Girl Gang-Raped and Torched In India Dies In Hospital

By Azeezat Okunlola | Sep 21, 2022

A 16-year-old Indian girl who had been reportedly gang-raped and burnt by two men has died in the hospital from her sustained injuries.

According to a report released by the police to AFP on Tuesday, the unnamed girl was taken to a hospital in Lucknow, the state capital, earlier this month after she was reportedly attacked by two men and set aflame. 

"We arrested the accused within two hours of the incident being reported and assured the family of proper follow-up action against the perpetrators," local police chief Dinesh Kumar Prabhu told AFP. 

A police contingent had been dispatched to the girl's neighbourhood "to check for any untoward incident," as Mr Prabhu put it.

The accused men tried to kill her by pouring diesel and setting her ablaze in the Madhav Tanda area of Pilibhit on September 7.

The case was registered against the accused on Saturday night under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The girl belonged to the Dalit caste, which has recorded the highest rate of sexual assault in India. A 2021 study notes that the Dalit belong to the lowest caste in India and are excluded from the four-fold Varna system of Hinduism. They are often characterised as “untouchables”. 

The study of sexual violence against Dalit women notes historical and cultural caste-based social exclusions.  

"There are more than 200 million Dalits in India, and Dalit women constitute half of this population, which is about 16.3 per cent of the total female population of India, and of this population, about three-fourths of women live in rural areas," the study said

Her death on Monday came a week after two Dalit sisters, aged 15 and 17, were found hanging from a tree after being allegedly sexually assaulted and murdered by six men.

Both incidents took place in the poor northern state of Uttar Pradesh, home to about 230 million people, where similar crimes regularly make headlines.

In the past, testimony from low-caste households has been suppressed via the use of threats and physical violence. There is a lack of legal counsel for the marginalised, and activists claim the police typically do not take their charges seriously.