Indian police said they were investigating a spate of rapes and hangings in a troubled northern region, as the national women’s rights body called for the state government to resign over the crisis. India has been trying to restore its battered reputation for violence against women, but public outrage was reignited by the deaths last month of two girls, aged 12 and 14, who were gang-raped and lynched in their impoverished village in Uttar Pradesh. On Thursday, a woman said she had been gang-raped by four officers at a police station in the state, and police said they were also investigating the death of a 19-year-old found, like the two girls, hanging from a tree.
The FIR (first information report) was lodged by the girl’s brother against unidentified persons. He has alleged the girl was murdered.
Senior police superintendent Ashutosh Kumar
The case is the latest in a series of attacks in Uttar Pradesh whose chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is under mounting political pressure to resign over his handling of law and order. Mamata Sharma, head of the state-run National Commission for Women, urged Yadav to resign, calling his government’s failure to protect women “shameful”. India brought in tougher laws last year against sexual offenders after the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi in December 2012, an attack that drew international condemnation of India’s treatment of women. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday urged all politicians to work together to protect women, in his first comments on the issue since the hanging of the girls sparked public outrage. Modi warned politicians against “politicising rape”, saying they were “playing with the dignity of women”.