Indian police have arrested the main suspect in an alleged gang-rape and murder of a teenage girl that took place in Chatra, Jharkhand last week.
“The main suspect has been arrested from a relative’s place where he was hiding,” a police official quoted as saying.
Dhanu Bhuiyan and his accomplices are accused of raping and burning the 16-year-old alive. The girl was killed after her parents complained to village elders that she had been raped.
The elders had told two accused rapists to do 100 sit-ups and pay Rs 50,000 fine as punishment.
The men were allegedly so enraged by the penalty that they beat the girl’s parents then set her on fire.
The deceased family has been given special police protection. The local village chief has also been detained.
“The two accused thrashed the parents and rushed to the house where they set the girl ablaze with the help of their accomplices,” Ashok Ram, the officer in charge of the local police station told the media.
Police said that so far they have nabbed 15 of the 18 people they want to investigate in connection with the incidents.
The girl was believed to have been abducted from her home. She was then allegedly raped by two men in a forested area near the village while her parents were attending a wedding
Councils of village elders carry no legal weight. However, they have significant influence in many parts of rural India.
Indian authorities have faced renewed pressure to act in the wake of several horrific sexual assault cases, including the recent gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kashmir. Amid mounting outrage, the government has changed the law to allow execution for child rapists.
India previously tightened the law following the 2012 rape and murder of a student on a bus in the capital, New Delhi.
40,000 rape cases were reported alone in India in 2016.
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