Outrage across country in protest at gang-rapes of two girls and death of father in police custody

An Indian tribunal has ordered the arrest of a ruling party politician accused of gang-raping a teen and beating her parent to demise as protests spread over this case and the other involving the gang-rape and assassination of an eight-year-old girl.

The high court in Allahabad city on Friday ordered the arrest of Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a member of the Uttar Pradesh state parliament with the Bharatiya Janata party( BJP ), after days of public outrage over the alleged infringement, his defiant response and the apparent apathy of police.

Singh Sengar and his brother Atul Singh Sengar have been accused of raping a 15 -year-old girl last June in a town in his constituency near the country capital, Lucknow.

The family tried unsuccessfully for months to persuade police to register a lawsuit against the powerful local official until last Tuesday, when the family alleges he and a group barged into their home, molested the girl again, tied her father to a tree and beat him.

The case came to national prominence this week when the adolescent tried to burn herself alive outside the mansion of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister. The next day, her father, who had been detained by local police after he was alleged assaulted, died in custody.

At the same time, details of the alleged rape and slaying of Asifa Bano, eight, in Kathua, in Jammu and Kashmir state, became national news after a group of Hindu lawyers tried to barricade a courtroom in different districts to stop police from lodging charges.

The protesters, who were backed by country BJP pastors, allege the investigation into the alleged attack on the girl, who is a member of a nomadic Muslim tribe, was biased because some of the officers involved were also Muslim.

Details of the crime- the child was allegedly confined in a Hindu temple in January, repeatedly raped for three days and then killed with a boulder- as well as the sight of Hindu protesters advocating the release of the accused men sparked disgust and protests across India on Friday.

The refusal of the Narendra Modi, a staunch Hindu nationalist, to comment has fuelled the indignation. The prime minister ultimately addressed the alleged infringement on Friday evening, telling an event in Delhi they” cannot be part of a civilised society “.

” As countries around the world, as national societies we all are ashamed of it ,” he said.” I want to assure the country that no perpetrator is likely to be spared, complete justice will be done. Our daughters will definitely get justice .”

The previous evening, hundreds of people attended a candlelit vigil for both victims at Delhi’s India Gate monument. The monument was the scene of protests more than five years ago over the gang-rape and slaying of Jyoti Singh, a student who came to be known as Nirbhaya- Hindi for fearless.

” We are altogether questioning what progress we’ve attained ,” said Poonam Muttreja, an activist who has founded several organisations for women’s rights and health.” After Nirbhaya we got strong new laws, but they don’t seem to be working for the weak, merely the powerful .”

Protests have been held across Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and West Bengal countries, and another large demo projected for the capital on Sunday.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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