Key suspect in gang rape and murder of teen in India arrested

SHIMLA • Indian police yesterday arrested a key suspect in the gang rape and murder of a teenage girl near the hill resort of Shimla which shocked a small community.

The incident has sparked protests demanding justice in Himachal Pradesh, a northern Himalayan state, AFP reported yesterday.

An autopsy confirmed that the girl, 16, - whose bruised and naked body body was found in a forest two days after she was allegedly kidnapped on her way home from school - was gang-raped and strangled. She suffered severe injuries, including a broken leg.

Himachal Pradesh police Inspector-General Zahur S. Zaidi said a 29-year-old man who was the main suspect in the attack had been arrested and was assisting investigators with their inquiry.

It is expected that more arrests will be made in the case. The accused is a drug addict and suspected of involvement in other sexual offences, another officer said.

India has a gruesome record on rape. Nearly 40,000 rape cases are reported every year but the real number is thought to be much higher, with victims wary of how their complaints will be dealt with or the social stigma.

In New Delhi, nearly 2,200 rape cases were registered in 2015 - an average of six a day, according to the most recent official figures, AFP said. Himachal Pradesh recorded 244 rapes that same year, among the lowest rates in India.

  • 40,000

  • Number of rape cases reported every year in India, but the real number is thought to be much higher.

India strengthened its laws on sexual violence after the fatal gang rape of a Delhi student in 2012 caused global outrage, but attacks on women are still widespread.

Social media in Himachal Pradesh is abuzz with photographs of six youths being circulated on social media who are accused of being the culprits, Hindustan Times reported yesterday. But the newspaper said there was no official confirmation that they were those wanted by the authorities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2017, with the headline 'Key suspect in gang rape and murder of teen in India arrested'. Print Edition | Subscribe