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Indian students and activists participate in a protest against two recent rapes in New Delhi, India, April 12, 2018. Placard in Hindi reads, "Women have only one demand, the society should be violence free."
Altaf Qadri/AP
Girls & Women

Indian Police Arrest a Man Accused of Gang Raping and Burning a Teenage Girl Alive

In India, where sexual violence and rape are widespread problems, there are few guarantees of justice for victims. 

Despite the country’s recent attempts to strengthen its laws and policies, persistent and denigrating attitudes toward women mean survivors are often dissuaded by law enforcement from filing official reports. And when they do file reports, they may not be taken seriously.

But justice may soon be served in the case of a 16-year-old girl who was gang raped and burned alive, as police arrested the main suspect, Dhanu Bhuiyan, on Sunday, CNN reported.

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Bhuiyan is believed to be one of more than a dozen people involved in the incident, which took place in Jharkhand state last week, according to the BBC. The police have also arrested 15 of 18 suspects in connection with the case.

Investigators believe Bhuiyan kidnapped the 16-year-old while her family was attending a wedding last Thursday, taking her to a nearby forest where he and another man raped her.

When the girl’s parents learned of the crime, they complained to their village’s council of elders — which holds significant influence in many rural communities, but has no legal authority. The council ordered the accused rapists to pay a $750 (50,000 rupee) fine and perform 100 sit-ups each.

However, when the men learned of the complaint and their punishment, they beat the victim’s parents and a mob set fire to the family’s home, killing the girl who was inside the house at the time. 

Read more: 12 Photos That Show How People Won’t Stop Protesting India Rapes Until Justice Is Served

The case is one of several horrific incidents of sexual violence that have sparked outrage in India in recent months. In April, thousands of people across the country took to the streets to protest sexual violence and call for stronger rape laws.

Yet, the problem persists.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, approximately 100 reports of sexual assaults are filed in India every day, and in 2016 nearly 40,000 incidents were reported in total.

As high as those figures are, the stigma around sexual assault discourages many survivors from reporting, meaning that the true number of attacks could be even higher.

Global Citizen campaigns to amend laws and change attitudes that discriminate against women and girls. You can take action here to urge governments to strengthen their sexual violence and rape laws.