Indian police arrested two men on Monday over the gang rape and burning to death of a woman, the latest shocking crime against females in the country, officials said.
Five men allegedly took it in turns to rape the woman after barging into her home early on Saturday, before dragging her to a Hindu temple where they burned her to death in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. “Two of the accused were arrested from an adjoining district early Monday and we are looking for the rest,” local police chief Radhey Mohan Bhardwaj told AFP.
Initial investigations found the men, who are members of the same extended family as the victim and from the same locality, were “annoyed” with the 35-year-old for meeting a particular man, Bhardwaj said. Police said the mother-of-two revealed the identities of the accused to her husband over the phone after the alleged rape and before they took her to the nearby temple and murdered her.
Police rejected media reports that the woman’s desperate emergency phone call went unanswered, saying it was unsuccessful because of the poor network quality in the area. India has a grim record of sexual violence, with nearly 40,000 rape cases reported countrywide in 2016. Campaigners say the true figure is likely to be much higher given the social stigma around victims of sexual crimes.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, reported more than 4,800 rapes in 2016. The state has been rocked by several high profile rape cases in recent months, including one that allegedly involved a lawmaker from the ruling party. Sexual violence in India has been in the global spotlight since the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a woman on a New Delhi bus sparked angry protests and stiffer penalties.