Indian teenager, 16, dies after being raped and set on fire

Indian youths point out the spot where a teenage girl was found after being allegedly raped and then set on fire in Greater Nioda, India, on March 8, 2016.
Indian youths point out the spot where a teenage girl was found after being allegedly raped and then set on fire in Greater Nioda, India, on March 8, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A 16-year-old Indian girl who was raped and then set on fire on the roof of her home has died, the police said on Wednesday (March 9), the latest in a string of horrific sexual crimes in India.

The teenager, who sustained more than 90 per cent burns in Monday's attack, died in hospital early on Wednesday, the investigating officer told AFP.

"Unfortunately she could not be saved despite the best efforts of the medical staff," said Mr Ashwani Kumar.

"We have arrested the accused, who is 19 years old and sent him to judicial custody.

"An investigation is on to find out more about the motive and details of the crime," he said.

The accused has been charged with a slew of offences including rape and murder, Mr Kumar said. "The body has been sent for postmortem. We are waiting for the report."

Media reports quoted the girl's father as saying a neighbour in their village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh had been harassing his daughter for a year despite several warnings.

Women's rights activists accuse the police of often overlooking complaints of stalking, which they say only emboldens the perpetrators.

The fatal gang rape of a student on a bus in Delhi in 2012 shone a global spotlight on frightening levels of violence against women.

Her death from injuries sustained during the brutal assault sparked some of the biggest demonstrations in India's recent history, which intensified after being broken up by heavy-handed police tactics.

It triggered deep soul-searching about the treatment of women in a country where rape victims are often stigmatised and frequently pressured by the police and relatives to drop allegations.

It also led to major reform of India's rape laws including speeding up of trials and increasing penalties for offenders, but high numbers of assaults persist.

Last month, the police arrested two men for shooting dead a 14-year-old girl who resisted their advances in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also in February, a teenage rape victim was sexually assaulted for a second time while in hospital receiving treatment for the initial attack in eastern Jharkhand state.