India

Unnao rape case: Indian woman set on fire on way to hearing dies

Demonstrators in India hold placards to protest against sexual assaults on women, File photo Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sexual violence against women has been a focus in India in recent years

An Indian woman who was set on fire on her way to testify against her alleged rapists has died of her injuries.

The 23-year-old died late on Friday after suffering cardiac arrest at a Delhi hospital. She had 90% burns.

She was attacked on Thursday as she was walking to a hearing in the rape case she filed against two men in March in Unnao, in northern Uttar Pradesh state.

Five men, including the alleged rapists, have been arrested, Indian police say.

The sister of the victim, whose name has not been released, told the BBC that she wanted the death penalty for the pair.

She said the family would continue to fight the case against them in court.

Rape and sexual violence against women have been in focus in India since the December 2012 gang-rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in the capital, Delhi.

But there has been no sign that crimes against women are abating.

According to government figures, police registered 33,658 cases of rape in India in 2017, an average of 92 rapes every day.

Unnao district has itself been in the news over another rape case.

Police opened a murder investigation against a ruling party lawmaker in July after a woman who accused him of rape was seriously injured in a car crash. Two of her aunts were killed and her lawyer was injured.

Separately, on Friday, Indian police shot dead four men suspected of raping and killing a young female vet in the southern city of Hyderabad last week.

That case sparked widespread outrage, and the killing of the suspects, in what rights activists believe may have been an extra-judicial killing, sparked jubilation among local residents.

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Media captionThe woman fighting back against India's rape culture

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