Six arrested for gang rape in Punjab
Six men have been arrested in India’s northern Punjab state at the weekend for raping a 29-year old woman, three weeks after a similar gang rape and murder in a moving bus in New Delhi triggered nationwide protests and demands for stricter laws for sexual crimes.
Police said the victim had boarded a bus at a village in Gurdaspur district, 480km north of New Delhi, on Friday evening headed for her in-laws’ home.
She was the only passenger aboard and the driver and conductor refused to halt at her stop despite repeated pleas.
They drove her to a secluded building where the two were joined by five others, all of who took turns raping her throughout the night, police said.
The driver dropped the woman off at her destination early on Saturday where police said she was undergoing treatment at home. Police soon arrested six suspects and claimed to be looking for the seventh.
Deputy superintendent of police Gurmej Singh said all six had admitted involvement in the rape.
Partap Singh Bajwa, MP for the region where the gang rape occurred, blamed the police for not enforcing stringent checks on buses operating in the state. “It all happened due to laxity of the police,” Mr Bajwa said.
This sexual assault is chillingly similar to the December 16th gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi for which five men are on trial. A sixth male, reportedly aged 17, is to be tried in a juvenile court.
According to official statistics, a rape takes place in India every 28 minutes, with a large proportion never being reported. With more than 600 rape cases registered last year, Delhi has been dubbed by the media as India’s “rape capital”.
Death penalty call
Meanwhile, in her first published comments, the mother of the student who died, who remains officially unnamed, said that all six suspects, including the juvenile charged with the gruesome crime, should be hanged.
She was quoted by the Times of India as saying that her daughter – who died two weeks after the attack in a Singapore hospital from horrific internal injuries – told her that the juvenile was the most brutal of the group.
“The boy everyone calls a juvenile beat her with an iron rod. He inserted it into her body till it went all the way up and then he yanked it out with her intestines,” the mother said, quoting her daughter.
“As she shouted for him to stop, he screamed abuses saying ‘Die’, yet the law calls him a juvenile,” she added, agitatedly. “Now the only thing that will satisfy us is to see them punished. For what they did to her, they deserve to die.”
The five charged with the woman’s rape and murder could face the death penalty if convicted. The maximum sentence for the minor suspect, if found guilty, would be three years’ incarceration in a juvenile facility.
Elsewhere, police in western India arrested a 32-year-old man on Saturday for allegedly abducting, raping and killing a nine-year-old girl.