Police in India say a young woman has been gang raped on the orders of a village council because she fell in love with a man from a different religion.
Police official C Sudhakar said today that 13 men have been arrested in West Bengal state.
A series of rapes in India over the past year has sparked widespread outrage over chronic sexual violence in India and government failures to protect women.
The West Bengal case is particularly troubling because the alleged rape apparently was sanctioned by a council made up of village elders.
Such councils are not legally binding in India, but they are seen as the will of the local community. Those who flout the councils risk being ostracised.
The woman told police that the village council in Subalpur village ordered her to pay a fine for having an affair with the man. When her family said they were too poor to pay, the council ordered the gang rape.
The woman told police she lost count of how many men raped her during the night-long ordeal. She is in hospital in the state’s Birbhum district where doctors said her condition is serious.
Subalpur is about 110 miles north of Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal.
The latest case comes a week after a 51-year-old Danish woman was gang-raped and robbed in the Indian capital. The woman was attacked at knifepoint by eight men in the evening of January 14th after losing her way to her hotel in the backpacking district of Paharganj in central Delhi.