The gang rape of a 21-year-old woman in the northern state of Haryana has sent ripples of shock as two of the men she identified are already on trial for raping her in 2013, highlighting India's continuing battle against sexual crimes targeted at women.
The victim, who is a Dalit, formerly known as untouchables, told the police that she was grabbed outside her college in the city of Rohtak on Wednesday afternoon and raped by the same five men involved in the earlier 2013 gang rape.
"I was coming out of college... I saw the same five boys were there in the car. I got scared. They dragged me into the car. They pressed my neck and said they would kill my father and brother. I didn't know where they took me. They were the same people," the woman, who had her face covered with a cloth, told Indian television channel Times Now from a hospital in Rohtak.
In India, rape victims cannot be identified.
Only two of the five are currently on trial, with the police saying that the others had been let off in the earlier case due to lack of evidence. The victim's family said the men had wanted them to back down from the case and even offered money.
The police, who sent out search teams, yesterday faced criticism for not nabbing the accused four days after the crime.
SAME ORDEAL 2ND TIME ROUND
I was coming out of college... I saw the same five boys were there in the car. I got scared. They dragged me into the car. They pressed my neck and said they would kill my father and brother. I didn't know where they took me. They were the same people.
THE 21-YEAR-OLD VICTIM, who is a Dalit, formerly known as untouchables.
Rohtak's deputy superintendent of police Pushpa Khatri told The Straits Times that the families of the accused are being questioned.
"We have taken the statement of the girl. In the first case, two people were arrested out of the five."
She said the two accused were released on bail 45 to 50 days ago.
Sexual crimes against women have remained in the spotlight in India since the fatal 2012 gang rape of a physiotherapy student in a moving bus in the capital city.
The victim died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital.
The crime triggered street protests, forcing the government to change laws, including introducing the death penalty for serial rapists.
The latest gang-rape incident also hit the headlines at a time when the 2012 gang rape case is in its last phase.
The Supreme Court started proceedings into an appeal against the death penalty filed by convicts Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma.
A total of 32,077 rape cases were reported last year, up from 24,923 in 2012, a 29 per cent jump.
"It is shocking," said Ms Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All-India Progressive Women's Association.
"I think the idea that a rape case is something serious, where accused have to be arrested and prosecuted within a time frame, is simply absent.
"The government, police and the entire system have a lot to answer for."