Indian girl dies in hospital after being raped and set on fire

A man has been arrested for the rape and burning of the 15-year-old girl in the village of Tigri, a suburb of New Delhi

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The Independent Online

A 15-year-old girl has girl has died of her injuries after being raped and set on fire at her family’s home in India. 

Yadram Singh, of Bisrakh police station, said the girl told police she was raped, beaten and set on fire by a man who had been stalking her.

Her father had filed a police complaint against the man and police issued a warning to him last year.

The 20-year-old man has since been arrested for the rape and murder of the girl, which took place in Tigri village, near New Delhi.

The girl’s parents found her on their rooftop terrace in the early hours of Monday morning after hearing her screams. 

She was taken to a hospital in New Delhi suffering from severe burn injuries covering 95 per cent of her body, and succumbed to the injuries on Wednesday morning. 

The attack is one of many recent rape cases against women and children in India, illustrating a lack of progress since the public outcry following the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus in Delhi three years ago. 

Jenn Selby, a campaigner for #HerVoice, which aims to end violence against women in India, said that these incidents are “nothing new”. 

“On average, a woman is raped every 34 minutes in India. Violence against women in the home and on the streets also occurs with alarming frequency. 

“And these are only the reported cases. India actually has some of the strongest anti-rape laws in the world: a conviction carries a penalty of at least two life sentences, while the maximum sentence is the death penalty. 

“However, the problem lies in getting the accused into the courts – and stopping men from raping women in the first place. 

Of the survivors she worked with during the #HerVoice campaign, she said: “Many spoke of being bribed or ridiculed by the police when they attempted to report incidences of serious assault. 

“Those that were able to record and have an incident investigated often faced lengthy court battles and excruciating stints on witness stands, not to mention threats to their lives and family, as well as the accompanying social isolation that comes with being labelled a ‘victim’ of sexual violence.” 

As for what can be done about the country-wide problem, Ms Selby highlighted the importance of education and law enforcement.

“It is a country in which 53 per cent of Primary School-aged girls are illiterate. Only 48 per cent of girls in India attend secondary education, and 35 per cent are married by the time they are 16. 

“We believe that female empowerment through education – not just of women, but of men too – is key to changing these attitudes.

“We also want Narendra Modi’s government to better enforce existing anti-rape laws, and ensure that proper structures are in place in the justice system to make reporting crimes easier for survivors.”