In Brief

Indian MP calls for lynching after gang rape and murder

National demonstrations after woman’s burned corpse was found in Hyderabad

A politician in India has called for public lynchings as anger grows over the gang rape and murder of a 27-year-old woman.

After a woman’s burned body was discovered in Hyderabad, it was alleged that she was dragged to a secluded area, gang-raped and strangled to death. Her body was then set alight and dumped.

Four men in police custody are alleged to have deflated the tyres of the victim’s scooter to leave her stranded then approached her, appearing to offer to help, before launching their attack.

Speaking of the perpetrators, Jaya Bachchan, an MP and former Bollywood star, said: “I know it sounds harsh, but these kind of people should be brought out in public and lynched.”

Angry demonstrations have broken out in several cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata. Politicians have joined the chorus of condemnation, with defence minister, Rajnath Singh, saying: “This act has brought shame to the entire country, it has hurt everyone.”

As tensions mount, the BBC reports that relatives of the victim have turned away visiting politicians and police officials, demanding action instead of sympathy. Three officers have been suspended following claims they had not acted quickly enough when the victim was reported missing.

Anger intensified when government officials made comments that appeared to blame the victim, The Washington Post says. One senior politician said that the woman would have been spared her ordeal had she called the emergency services, rather than her sister, when she realised that she had a flat tire.

The mothers of two of those arrested for the attack have called for their sons to be punished if they are found guilty. “You give whatever punishment (to them). I have a daughter too,” one told The Press Trust of India.

The Guardian says that “violent crimes against women have been in the spotlight in India since 2012”, when the “fatal gang rape of a young woman aboard a moving bus in Delhi prompted hundreds of thousands to take to the streets to demand stricter rape laws”.

Sex crimes against women are rife in India and a 2018 survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation declared the country as the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman.

There were 33,658 registered cases of rape in 2017 – an average of 92 a day. However, the real figure is believed to be higher as many women in India do not go to the police out of fear.

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