A 17-year-old Indian girl who was gang-raped committed suicide on Wednesday night at her house in Badshahpur village, after the police refused to register her case and pressured her into reaching a compromise with her attackers or marrying one of them.
The girl was found dead from swallowing poison. In her suicide note, the girl accused the police of humiliating her by calling her to the police station several times and asking her uncomfortable questions. It is believed that the young men responsible for raping her hold influential positions in the area.
The victim's sister claims that the girl had been urged by the police to either accept a financial settlement or marry one of her attackers. On Thursday, the police arrested two men, allegedly the attackers, and a woman, supposedly their accomplice. Before the young girl's death, there had been no arrests over her case.
Police sources suggest that the local police supervisor has been dismissed, while an investigation into the case has been launched. The Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh deplored the young girl’s rape and tragic death, but emphasized that dismissing lower-level police officials was not the solution to the breakdown in law and order in the region and that, firstly, it must be determined at whose request the police officers were pressuring the girl into compromise.
This incident, occurring almost a week after the gang-rape of a 23 year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi outraged the Indian society and led to massive protests, further highlights the Indian police’s lack of response in tackling sex crimes.
The renowned Indian novelist Arundhati Roy stressed that a key problem is the fact that rape is regarded as a "matter of feudal entitlement" in many parts of India and as result authorities, such as the ones in Badshahpur village, dismiss these cases without making even a minor investigations to verify the alleged victims’ accusations.
More generally, official figures indicate that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded in 2011 were against women. The real figure is believed to be much higher, given that many women are reluctant to report attacks to the police, due to its known unwillingness to take action.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Delhi to condemn the growing incidence of rape throughout India and its widespread acceptance by both the Indian population and the authorities as well as the general mistreatment of women, with the hope that horrendous acts of violence against women, such as the two recent rapes, never take place again.