In Brief

Three Indian teenagers raped and set alight in separate attacks

India’s Congress president says nation has ‘failed another girl’

A 17-year-old girl is fighting for her life after being raped and set on fire in India as protesters took to the streets following the deaths of two other teenagers after similar attacks days earlier. 

Police arrested a 19-year-old man in connection with the latest attack, in the Indian state of Jharkhand on Friday, but he has not been charged.

The victim is undergoing treatment in hospital after suffering 95% burns, police told BBC Hindi.

The authorities believe the teenager was attacked in a relative’s house in a village in Pakur district. The suspect, believed to be a local man, reportedly waited until she was alone, broke into the house and then raped her, before setting her alight with kerosene.

It comes after two 16-year-olds were also set on fire after reporting being raped in separate incidents, one in Chatra district and one also in Pakur district. Both girls burned to death.

Although the three attacks are not thought to be related, they are the latest in what CNN describes as “a series of brutal crimes against women across India” in recent months that have sparked mass protests nationwide.

One of the cases involved an eight-year-old Muslim girl from Kashmir who was gang raped, drugged and murdered in January, fuelling religious tensions in the area and prompting the Indian government to introduce the death penalty for child rape, the BBC reports.

Around 40,000 rape cases were reported in India in 2016.

Rahul Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress, took to Twitter on Monday to accuse the Jharkhand state police of inaction over the latest case, adding that the nation had “failed another girl”.

“In Jharkhand, the rape and brutal murder of a young girl who was set afire by her rapist, has left me stunned and angry. Her death is a tragedy,” he said.

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