A twenty-year-old "low-caste" Dalit student was allegedly gang-raped again by five men in north India's Haryana state last week, police said today.
The incident happened in Rohtak city on Wednesday. The victim, a student of Rohtak's IC College, was earlier gang-raped by the same accused in Bhiwani in 2013. Police had then arrested the two accused who were granted bail by a local court.
The accused waylaid the woman from outside the college and raped her. She was found unconscious in bushes in Sukhpura Chowk locality after which she was rushed to a government hospital.
Haryana deputy superintendent of police Pushpa Khatri said the student, who is still in hospital, has identified all five men - two of whom are currently on bail awaiting trial for raping her in 2013. "We have formed several teams to arrest the accused."
"I was coming out of the college. These five accused - two were outside and three were inside the car. I was scared seeing them. They took me in the car," the victim said from her hospital bed.
The victim's family alleged that she was gang-raped again because they refused to accept a settlement amount of about $74,480 offered by the accused.
The woman's brother said the accused were threatening them to reach an out-of-court settlement. The family also alleged they were forced to move to Rohtak district in the state from a neighbouring district after the 2013 attack because of harassment by the accused.
"These five accused had raped her in 2013 also. They gang-raped and threatened her. Among the five, only two were arrested and the rest three are out. We had even got the high court to issue summons to them. We left Bhiwani out of fear," said the victim's brother.
He said his sister wanted to become a lecturer, but this horrifying incident had shattered her.
Members of the Dalit caste held small protests in Rohtak on Sunday to demand justice for the victim.
Rohtak city woman police station house officer, Garima, said a case has been registered against the accused and a manhunt has been launched to arrest them.
"We have received information that a girl has been hospitalised and she has been raped. On this basis, we have recorded her statement. Girl is a student of IC college. She was picked up from outside the college in a car and five persons raped her," said Garima.
The fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in Delhi in 2012 shone a global spotlight on frightening levels of violence against women in India. It also led to major reform of India's rape laws, including speeding up of trials and increased punishments for offenders, but horrific attacks continue to be reported in the media on a daily basis.
Violence against women is common in India, with rapes, acid attacks, domestic violence dowry and deaths being reported frequently.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, India registered 337,922 incidents of crimes against women in 2014, up by 9 per cent since 2013. Out of those, 36,735 were incidents of rape.