An alleged rape victim in northern India who was set on fire on Thursday on her way to a court hearing in the case she filed died in a hospital in New Delhi, officials said yesterday.
The woman was attacked by a group of men in Uttar Pradesh, including two of the five men she had accused of gang rape last year who were out of custody on bail.
Five men were arrested in connection with the burn attack.
The 23-year-old woman sustained extensive injuries and was airlifted from Uttar Pradesh to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where she died late on Friday of cardiac arrest, said Shalab Kumar, head of the hospital’s burn unit.
Congress Party General-Secretary Priyanka Gandhi faulted the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for failing to provide the woman with security, even after a similar case in the state in which a woman who accused a BJP lawmaker of rape was severely injured in a vehicle hit-and-run incident.
Separately, a top Indian rights group yesterday launched an investigation into a police shooting of four rape-murder suspects, after accusations that they were gunned down to assuage public anger.
Police said that they shot the four suspects, who had been in custody for a week, early on Friday after they snatched officers’ guns during a re-enactment at the crime scene organized by detectives.
Police were still at the scene outside Hyderabad in southern India yesterday as motorists stopped their cars on the busy highway to look and take photos with their phones.
Others have expressed horror, with one Indian Supreme Court lawyer calling it “murder in cold blood” and Amnesty International saying the “alleged extrajudicial execution” should be investigated.
The operation was overseen by a police officer involved in two similar incidents, including when three acid attack suspects were killed in a forest in 2008, the Indian Express daily reported.
Late on Friday the High Court in the southern state of Telangana, where the shooting happened, ordered that the bodies be preserved until tomorrow and that their autopsies be filmed.
A team from the National Human Rights Commission was expected at the scene later yesterday.
The commission said that it was concerned the killings would “send a wrong message to society.”
“If, the arrested persons were actually guilty, they were to be punished as per law pursuant to the directions of the competent court,” it said in a statement.
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