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Teenage rape victim dies of burn wounds

March 9, 2016

A teenage girl who had been raped and set on fire in her home village has succumbed to her injuries. The horrific case follows a disturbing pattern of violence against women in India.

Symbolbild Protest gegen Vergewaltigungen in Indien
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/Saurabh Das

A 15-year-old Indian girl who was raped and then set on fire on the roof of her home succumbed to her injuries Wednesday after two days in the hospital, authorities said.

"Unfortunately, she could not be saved despite the best efforts of the medical staff," said criminal investigator Ashwani Kumar, who also reported that police had a 19-year-old suspect in custody. "An investigation is on to find out more about the motive and details of the crime."

The girl's family said the assailant had been stalking their daughter for several months. Her father had filed a complaint to police against the man and police had issued a warning to him last year.

The girl was reportedly raped Monday on the roof of her house in Tigri, a village in the state of Uttar Pradesh near the suburbs of New Delhi. The man then set the girl on fire causing her to sustain burns to more than 90 percent of her body.

Women's rights groups complain that India's police often overlook complaints of stalking, which they say only emboldens the perpetrators who often grow violent.

The suspect in custody - whom police did not name - was charged Tuesday with several offenses, including rape and murder.

Indien Kinder Vergewaltigungen Polizei Protest
A total of 13,766 cases of child rape were reported in India in 2014, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. Activists say a vast majority of cases go unreported because of social stigma attached to abuse and poor monitoring. This has led to public demonstrations calling for police to take greater action.Image: picture-alliance/dpa/R. Gupta

A catalog of horrific violence against women and children

Recent reports of rapes of women and children in India highlight the persistence of such violence despite an international outcry over a grisly 2012 gang rape of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh on a bus that led to stronger laws against sexual assault.

That victim's death from injuries sustained during the brutal assault sparked some of the biggest demonstrations in India's recent history, which intensified after being broken up by heavy-handed riot police.

Yet, deep problems still exist within Indian society. Police arrested two men for shooting dead a 14-year-old girl who resisted their advances in the same state, Uttar Pradesh.

Also last month, a teenage rape victim was sexually assaulted for a second time while in hospital receiving treatment for the first attack in eastern Jharkhand state.

jar/jil (AP, dpa, AFP)