Indian low-caste woman dies after gang rape, 2nd in a week

NEW DELHI • A woman from India’s marginalised Dalit community has died after being gang-raped, police said yesterday, days after the death of a teenager from the same low-caste group at the hands of a group of high-caste men sparked outrage.

The 22-year-old, a member of India’s “untouchable” Dalit community, was allegedly raped by two men on Tuesday and died while being taken to hospital, police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh said.

The latest assaults come months after four men were hanged for the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi, a case that came to symbolise the nation’s problems with sexual violence.

Police said two men in the latest case had been arrested on charges of gang rape and murder, without giving further details on their identities.

An investigation was underway and the suspects may be tried in a special fast-track court, they added.

“A rickshaw-wallah (driver) brought her home. (She) was thrown in front of our house. My child could barely stand or speak,” the NDTV news channel quoted her mother as saying.

The incident took place in Balrampur district in Uttar Pradesh state, around 500km from where the other Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped in mid-September by four upper-caste men.

The 19-year-old, who was left paralysed by her injuries, was rushed to hospital in New Delhi 200km away, but died on Tuesday.

Her death sparked protests in Delhi and in cities in Uttar Pradesh. India’s 200 million Dalits have long faced discrimination and abuse, and campaigners said attacks have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

An average of 87 rape cases were reported every day last year, according to the latest data released Tuesday by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.

The bureau reported an increase of more than seven percent in the number of crimes against women in 2019 compared to the previous year. — AFP