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Woman dies after gang-rape in India, second in a week

A woman from India's marginalized Dalit community has died after being gang-raped, police said Thursday, days after the death of a teenager from the same low-caste group at the hands of a group of high-caste men sparked outrage. The 22-year-old, a member of India's "untouchable" Dalit community, was allegedly raped by two men on Tuesday and died while being taken to hospital, police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh said.

The latest assaults come months after four men were hanged for the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi, a case that came to symbolize the nation's problems with sexual violence.

Police said that two men in the latest case had been arrested on charges of gang-rape and murder, without giving further details on their identities.

India Rape
Student activists shout slogans while burning an effigy of Uttar Pradesh state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during a protest against the gang rape and killing of a teenager, in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.  Mahesh Kumar A / AP

An investigation was under way and the suspects may be tried in a special fast-track court, they added.

"A rickshaw-wallah (driver) brought her home. (She) was thrown in front of our house. My child could barely stand or speak," the NDTV news channel quoted her mother as saying.

The incident took place in Balrampur district in Uttar Pradesh state, around 300 miles from where the other Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped in mid-September by four upper-caste men. The 19-year-old, who was left paralyzed by her injuries, was rushed to hospital in New Delhi 200 kilometers away but died on Tuesday.

Her death sparked protests in Delhi and in cities in Uttar Pradesh. Indian police detained key leaders of the opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi, on Thursday after preventing them from visiting the village where the 19-year-old victim lived.

Police officer Manoj Dixit said the two party leaders were detained for violating an order banning the assembly of four or more people in the area to prevent any violence by protesters.

India's 200 million Dalits have long faced discrimination and abuse, and campaigners say attacks have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

An average of 87 rape cases were reported every day last year, according to the latest data released Tuesday by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.

The bureau reported an increase of more than seven percent in the number of crimes against women in 2019 compared to the previous year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  

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