Indian police 'tell rape victims to stay silent to protect their honour'

Witnesses claim at least 10 women were dragged from their cars and sexually assaulted in nearby fields

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The Independent Online

Families of alleged rape victims have claimed senior Indian police officers told them to stay silent about these attacks "for the sake of their honour".

Witnesses said at least 10 women were dragged from their vehicles and sexually assaulted in fields near the National Highway in the northern Indian state of Haryana, the Tribune reports.

A senior IPS officer said these assaults were just a rumour and the media should not write anything that could create tension in society.

It was reported "at least 30 men" targeted commuters travelling to the National Capital Region, setting their vehicles on fire and attacking women unable to flee.

Local residents rushed over to the stripped victims bringing clothes and blankets.

One eyewitness, who wishes to stay anonymous, said: "Three women were taken to Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba [a restaurant] and united with their families in the presence of senior police officers.

"They appeared lifeless. District officials who arrived there, instead of investigating the matter, persuaded the families to take the women home. Many were provided transport."

It is not known whether these alleged attacks are related to recent agitation in the Haryana region caused by Jat reservation protests.

Members of the Jat community have been protesting for access to jobs and college places currently protected by positive discrimination quotas.