'Untouchable' woman's brutal rape and murder sparks outrage in India

Horrific case prompts hundreds to protest over government's neglect of women

Gabriel Samuels
Wednesday 04 May 2016 18:42 BST
Indian activists shout slogans as they are confronted by police officials during a protest outside Kerala House in New Delhi
Indian activists shout slogans as they are confronted by police officials during a protest outside Kerala House in New Delhi (Sajjad Hussain/Getty Images)

Three men are being held by police after the brutal rape and murder of a young law student in India - prompting hundreds of angry protesters to take to the streets.

The 30-year-old victim, named only as “Jisha” on social media, had her body mutilated during the assault and was found dead by her mother outside her home in Perumbavoor, Kerala.

Officers said two of the three detained suspects were Jisha’s neighbours and the third worked at a nearby restaurant.

The attacker or attackers used a sharp implement to remove the intestines of the victim and her chest was pierced on both sides. The cause of death was severe head injury.

Jisha belonged to the Dalit or ‘Untouchables’ sect, the lowest rank on India’s traditional caste system which accounts for 201 million of the country’s population.

The vicious crime has drawn comparisons with the gang rape and murder of medical student Jyoti Singh on a Delhi bus in December 2012.

Hundreds of human rights advocates launched a protest following the latest case, in an effort to pressure the government to tighten up the legal protection of Dalit women and sexual assault victims.

They assembled outside the hospital where the victim's body had been taken with placards demanding justice.

Meanwhile, Jisha’s traumatised mother reportedly remains bedridden under medical supervision and claims the family had previously “complained to police about the danger to [their] lives.”

The hashtag #JusticeForJisha began trending in India on Sunday, with thousands tweeting their support for the cause.

Critics have claimed the police and UDF government initially tried to ignore the crime because of the upcoming local assembly elections in two weeks.

In a statement, the Communist Party of India said: “It is shameful that the state police and the Congress-led UDF government initially tried to cover up this heinous crime.

“It was thanks to a vigilant media and the massive public outcry that followed that forced the police to finally act.”

Outrage caused by Jyoti Singh's rape and murder in 2012 forced the government to rush through laws offering improved protection for women in sexual assault cases.

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