India woman en route to police set on fire by 'molesters'

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image captionScrutiny of sexual violence in India has increased in recent years

A woman in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh is in critical condition after she was set on fire by two men who had allegedly molested her days earlier.

She was reportedly on her way to lodge a complaint with the police on Saturday when the attack occurred.

The woman is alleged to have been previously turned away by police.

Both the accused have been arrested and three policemen have been suspended, a police official told BBC Hindi.

The woman has sustained serious burns.

Activists say harassment of rape victims by police is not uncommon. And many cases of sexual molestation and assault in India go unreported because of police apathy as well as the stigma attached to rape.

The attack on the 22-year-old woman took place in Sitapur district.

On 29 November, she was allegedly molested by two brothers in a field near her home.

She managed to escape and went to the police station, accompanied by some family members, to register a complaint. But her family alleges that they were turned away by the police.

On Saturday, two days after she was first molested, she was on her way to the police station to make another attempt to lodge a complaint when the accused poured kerosene on her and set her on fire, local media reports said.

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image captionSchoolgirls staged a protest rally in May after teenagers were raped and burnt alive

A senior police official told journalists that they were investigating to find out why the officer in-charge of the police station had not registered her initial complaint. He said two constables and the officer in-charge had been suspended for "neglecting" their duty.

Three teenagers were raped and burned alive in unrelated incidents in two different states earlier this year. Two of them died from their injuries.

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