Police arrest seventh accused of gang rape in northern India

STORY: The police arrested seventh person, accused of abducting and raping a 30-year-old woman in Gurdaspur District of India’s northern Punjab state, said a sub inspector on Monday (January 14).

Earlier, lower court had remanded six suspects to police custody till January 16.

Police would also seek the custody of the seventh suspect from the court to complete the impending investigations.

“We arrested the seventh accused in the case, Sarabjit Singh, in the night. We are going to produce him in the court. We will seek his remand to complete the impending investigation. After that we will submit the report in the court,” said Sub inspector Harpal Singh.

According to the police, driver Daler Singh and the conductor Ravi abducted the victim, who was on way to her to Ghukla village in a bus, and took her to an undisclosed location where they committed the heinous crime.

However, Manjeet Kaur, Ravi’s mother, refuted the allegation.

“My son has not committed the crime. He came home. He axed the wooden planks, milked the cow and went to sleep. The driver called him at 6 O’clock (local time) in the morning and asked him to ply the bus, as he would come late,” said Kaur.

The ganagrape come weeks after a student in Delhi was assaulted and beaten in a moving bus and thrown bleeding onto the street in a case that sparked outrage in the country.

The rape figures are highest among the Indian cities of comparable size.

Women in India face a multitude of threats, from illegal abortions of female foetuses due to a preference for sons, to the murders of brides by in-laws for want of more dowry, child marriage and human trafficking.

With the ever-increasing incidents of sexual crimes against women, some being committed even in broad daylight has led to the generation of fear in minds of college goers, professionals and housewives alike.

India has robust gender laws, but they are hardly enforced, partly because a feudal mindset is as prevalent among bureaucrats, magistrates and the police as it is elsewhere. Politicians are also unwilling to crack down on customary biases against women for fear of losing conservative votes.