Four women in family gang-raped, man shot dead by armed robbers in India highway horror

LUCKNOW (THE STATESMAN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - In a horrific incident involving a western Uttar Pradesh highway near India's national capital New Delhi, a man was shot dead and four women in his family were allegedly gang-raped by armed robbers while the family was travelling by car on the Jewar-Bulandshahr road off the Yamuna Expressway in the wee hours of Thursday (May 25).

Eight members of the family, comprising four men and four women, were travelling in the car when a gang of six robbers allegedly waylaid them at about 1.30am in Jewar area of UP's Gautam Budh Nagar district adjoining New Delhi, police said. The attackers allegedly targeted the vehicle first to puncture the cars' tyres.

When the car came to a halt near Sabota village, they struck. The robbers dragged the women out of the car and allegedly raped them at gun-point in the nearby fields. They tied up the men, and shot one of them dead when he attempted to resist.

The attackers stole about 47,500 rupees (S$1,018) in cash and jewellery from the victims, who also claimed that the police came late to the scene of the crime.

The police said the family was travelling to visit a relative in a hospital in Bulandshahr in western Uttar Pradesh. The incident yet again reflects the poor law-and-order situation in Uttar Pradesh, which is disturbing, even as the new BJP government headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has claimed to have stamped out crime in the sprawling state.

The injured members of the family were admitted to a Noida hospital. An FIR has been filed in Jewar police station against the six unidentified assailants under Sections 376 D (gang rape) and 396 (dacoity with murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

The victims recounted their harrowing ordeal, recalling how they begged their attackers to spare them, but to no avail.

On Thursday afternoon, Inspector-General of Meerut range Ram Kumar, Senior Superintendent of Police at Gautam Budh Nagar Love Kumar and Superintendant of Police-Rural Suniti held a meeting at the Jewar police station. They also visited the incident spot.

The district police have formed four teams to investigate the incident and nab the robbers.

"Four teams, including personnel from the special operation group, crime branch and local police, have been formed. We are also seeking the help of the Uttar Pradesh special task force. We have some leads on the incident and we are working on them," said Mr Ram Kumar.

The incident was reminiscent of the horrific gang-rape of a woman and her 13-year-old daughter in July 2016 when their five-member family was travelling in a car from Noida to Shahjahanpur.