Police in India have arrested 14 people suspected of gang-raping a teenage girl and burning her to death. Rising violence against women has sparked widespread public outrage and protests across the country.
Fourteen people were detained Saturday over the alleged rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in India's eastern Jharkhand state, officials said.
The crime is the latest in a string of brutal assaults against young girls in India, despite moves to toughen laws punishing sexual violence.
What authorities allege
Officials said a group of men abducted the teenager from the Chatra district on Thursday, took her to a remote area and raped her.
The girl's father then complained to the village council, which ordered the accused to pay a fine of 50,000 rupees (€625; $750) and do 100 situps.
The suspects allegedly returned the next day to beat up the girl's family members before pouring kerosene on her and setting her on fire.
Medical tests are being conducted to confirm the sexual assault.
Fourteen people are in custody, but police say other key suspects are still on the run.
Calls for justice: The issue of sexual violence in India has received widespread attention since the fatal gang rape of a young medical student on a bus in the capital, New Delhi, in 2012. The brutal crime highlighted the issue of women's safety in the South Asian nation and prompted changes to laws governing sexual crimes. In recent months, the country has again been shaken by a series of violent sexual assaults against young girls, including the rape and murder of an 8-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir. The cases have led to an outpouring of public anger, with mass protests demanding the perpetrators face justice.
Frequent attacks: According to official statistics, around 40,000 rape cases were reported in India in 2016. That amounts to over 100 per day, but many more incidents are believed to go unreported. About 40 percent of the cases involve child rape.
Harsher punishment: Last month, India's government approved stricter punishments for sexual violence against young girls, including the death penalty for those convicted of raping children under the age of 12. They also backed doubling the jail term for someone convicted of raping an adult to 20 years and required rape investigations and trials be fast-tracked. This follows laws passed in 2012 and 2013 that criminalized voyeurism and stalking following a brutal gang rape in a Delhi bus.
nm/jm (AP, AFP, dpa)