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Woman set on fire in northern India after complaining of alleged assault

Published: December 4, 2018

STORY: Two men, who allegedly molested a 20-year-old woman in northern India, set her on fire on Saturday (December 01), two days after she lodged a complaint with police, authorities and her family said.

The woman was in a field near her home in the Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh state, when the men, both neighbours and known to her family, accosted her and tried to drag her away. She bit their hands and managed to break free and escape, and her father filed a complaint with police same day. When there was reportedly no action, the family lodged a second complaint.

The Inspector General of India’s northern Lucknow zone, Sujeet Kumar Pandey, said that the girl alleged that she was molested on November 29. She has suffered burns to 40 percent of her body and was hospitalised.

One person has been arrested and the other one is at large but pursuits are being made to arrest him as well, added Pandey.

After a gruesome gang rape of a young woman in 2012, India launched fast-track courts and tougher laws for violence against women that included the death penalty. But crime statistics indicate sexual assault on women have risen, not fallen, since then.

Even if cases are registered, crime statistics show that police files remain open for about a third of all rapes that were investigated for each year between 2012 and 2016.

Rights groups have accused Indian police of bowing to pressure from local politicians to bury investigations. In some cases investigations of sexual assault have evaporated out of sheer police apathy, activists say.

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