Indian police announced Saturday 14 arrests in the horrific murder of a teen girl who was set on fire after her parents complained to village elders that she had been raped—the latest outrage in a string sexual attacks against women in India despite new tougher laws.
The 16-year-old girl from Chatra, a village in eastern Jharkhand state, was attending a wedding ceremony Thursday when she was abducted and then raped, according to reports.
She told her parents who complained to village council leaders. They next day they imposed a $750 fine on each of her alleged attackers. The BBC reported that the accused were also ordered to do 100 sit-ups.
The BBC reported that they were so enraged they beat the girl’s parents and then burned her to death. They found her alone at home on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
District Magistrate Jitendera Singh said police were searching for the main suspect in the case.
India has been shaken by a series of sexual assaults since 2012, when a student was gang-raped and murdered on a moving New Delhi bus. That attack galvanized a country where widespread violence against women had long been quietly accepted.
While the government has passed a series of laws increasing punishment for rape of an adult to 20 years in prison, it's rare for more than a few weeks to pass without another brutal sexual assault being reported.
Responding to widespread outrage over the recent rape and killings of young girls and other attacks on children, India's government last month approved the death penalty for people convicted of raping children under age 12.
The BBC reported that councils of village elders are often called on to settle disputes in many parts of rural India without resorting to country’s expensive judicial system.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.