Indian woman shot dead by rebels in rape attempt: Police

SiHILLONG, India (AFP) - Rebels shot dead a woman in north-east India after she resisted their attempt to gang-rape her, police said on Wednesday, the latest in a string of sex attacks to shock the country.

Police said the 35-year-old mother of four was at home in a remote village of Meghalaya state when militants of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army barged in late Tuesday.

They locked her husband and children inside a room before turning on her, police said.

"The woman was shot dead by Garo National Liberation Army rebels after she resisted their attempt to molest and rape her," local police chief Lakardor Syiem told AFP.

The rebels were armed with automatic rifles, Syiem said.

The Garo National Liberation Army is one of five tribal rebel groups fighting for a separate "Garoland" to be carved out of Meghalaya.

The incident comes amid global outrage over the gang-rape and murder of two teenage girls in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh last week.

The girls, belonging to the lowest Dalit caste, were hanged from a tree in Badaun district, with tests showing they had been sexually attacked multiple times.

The United Nations condemned the attack on the girls on Tuesday, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon saying he was "appalled" by the Uttar Pradesh killings.

"We say no to the dismissive, destructive attitude of 'boys will be boys'," Ban said, referring to a controversial remark made by an Indian politician earlier this year.

The leader of the Samajwadi Party, Mulayam Singh Yadav - whose son Akhilesh is chief minister of Uttar Pradesh - told an election rally in April he opposed the recently introduced death penalty for gang-rapists, saying "boys make mistakes".

Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director for Human Rights Watch, called on new prime minister Narendra Modi to address the "scourge" of violence against women.

"He (Modi) should take the initiative to press the police and the criminal justice system to be more responsive to cases of sexual violence," she said.

Modi has yet to comment on the issue although his minister for women and child development has announced plans to set up rape crisis centres across the country.

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