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India rape-murder victim’s relatives to get guns and guards


Indian police on Monday deployed round-the-clock protection and promised a weapons licence to the family of an alleged rape victim who died after being set on fire on the way to testify in court.

The woman told police in her dying testimony that two of her alleged rapists repeatedly pushed her to withdraw the court case before attacking her last week with three other men in Uttar Pradesh state.

“We have deputed personal security officers for the brother and sister of the victim, apart from deploying police force in the village,” Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district police chief Vikrant Vir told AFP.


The family’s request for an arms license would be given priority processing, Vir added.

All five men have been arrested and charged with murder, with two of them still facing rape charges.

The special provisions for the 23-year-old’s brother and sister came as public anger grows about perceived police inaction in preventing and pursuing sexual assault cases across the country.

India has long battled a high number of violent crimes against women, particularly sexual assault, with more than 33,000 rapes reported in 2017.

Victims and their families often complain of harassment from alleged perpetrators demanding that they withdraw their cases or agree to out-of-court settlements as court action drag on for years.

The conviction rate in rape cases is 32 percent.

The brutal death of the young woman, whose name was not released for legal reasons, was the latest in a string of cases in which alleged sexual attack victims have been murdered.

Last week police shot dead four men accused of raping and murdering a 27-year-old veterinary doctor in the southern city of Hyderabad.

Her killing, in late November, sparked nationwide protests before the suspects were killed by police officers in what they claimed was a “shootout” during a re-enactment of the alleged attack.

The state government has established a special investigations team to probe the men’s deaths.


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