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More arrests in India gang rape

May 31, 2014

Five men have been arrested for the gang rape and killing of two teenagers in northern India. Several police officers have also been fired for failing to investigate the girls' disappearance.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Police officer N. Malik said the fifth arrest came early Saturday and that officials were still hunting for two others in the gang rape of the two teenage cousins.

On Friday, officials arrested two police officers and fired two more for failing to investigate when one of the girls' fathers reported them missing. The victims' families are part of a low-caste community that often faces discrimination in India.

The teenage victims, aged 14 and 15, were raped in the tiny village of Katra, about 180 miles (300 kilometers) from Lucknow in the northern Uttar Pradesh state on Tuesday. Their bodies were found hanging from a tree the following day. Police say they disappeared after going into fields near their home to relieve themselves, since their house has no toilet.

There have been a string of high-profile attacks in just the past few days in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, with nearly 200 million people.

On Thursday, police arrested three men suspected of attacking the mother of a rape victim after she refused to withdraw her complaint. The incident left the mother hospitalized in critical condition with multiple fractures, police and medics said.

Another 17-year-old girl was gang raped in the state's Azamgarh district on Friday, reports said.

The recent attacks have highlighted India's ongoing struggle with sexual violence. Women's safety in India has been in the international spotlight since the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 - an incident that drew international condemnation and led to the introduction of stricter rape laws.

Officials say around 25,000 rapes are committed every year in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people. Activists say, however, that number is low because female victims are often pressured by family or police to remain quiet about the crime.

hc/tj (AP, dpa)