Indian village elders order gang rape of woman

A 20-year-old woman from India’s West Bengal state is in critical condition after being gang raped by 13 men on orders from the village elders.

The woman fell in love with a man from a different region, prompting the rape.

“It’s horrific. They (rapists) are all our neighbours and I call some of them as kaka (uncle) and some others as dada (elder brother), or bhai (brother),” the woman was quoted as saying in The Hindustan Times newspaper, Al Jazeera reported.

The couple had been dating for five years when the man proposed marriage. When villagers heard the news they formed a kangaroo court to try the couple, according to Birbhum district Superintendent of Police C Sudhakar.

Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and first woman to hold the office, has ordered Sudhakar be removed from his position. She wanted the strictest punishment possible, and was irritated with how police handled the case, according to the Press Trust of India.

Both the man and the woman were ordered to pay 25,000 rupees (almost $450 Cdn). The man paid his fine, but the woman’s family could not, so the village headman ordered the rape.

“Her family could not pay, so go enjoy the girl and have fun,” he reportedly said, according to the woman’s family, the BBC reported.

The gang rape took place on the night of Jan. 20, but the woman was not admitted to hospital until Jan. 22.

Violence against women in India has been especially scrutinized since the December 2012 gang rape of a 23-year-old female student on a New Delhi bus. The student died 13 days after her assault.

Despite increased international attention and tougher anti-rape laws, rape is still common in India with many cases going unreported, according to BBC correspondents.

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