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3rd teenage girl allegedly raped and set ablaze this month in India

Posted May 12, 2018 4:46 a.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2018 11:35 p.m. EDT

— Police in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh are investigating the death of 16-year-old-girl who was allegedly raped and set on fire, in the third such case reported in India this month.

The attack is alleged to have been carried out by a 28-year-old man, Sagar district Superintendent of Police Satyendra Kumar Shukla said.

The girl's family allege that she was raped and set on fire at her home in Jhujharpura village on Thursday after her cousin informed the man accused of the crime that the victim was home alone, police said.

The girl's cousin and the 28-year-old have been arrested. Police are waiting for a medical report before filing charges.

Two other unrelated instances in which a teenage girl was raped and set ablaze, both in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, are still under investigation.

The first reported attack in Jharkhand took place on May 4. The victim, a 16-year-old girl, is alleged to have been burned to death in an apparent revenge attack carried out after she reported a previous gang-rape attack to village chiefs, investigators said.

The second victim in Jharkhand, a 17-year-old girl, was being treated in a local hospital Monday afternoon after suffering burns to 70% of her body, a police superintendent said.

Thousands of people took to the streets across the country last month in response to earlier incidents of sexual violence against women and girls.

They were some of the largest demonstrations seen in India since the highly publicized rape and murder of a female college student in Delhi in 2012.

Around 100 sexual assaults are reported to police in India every day, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. There were nearly 39,000 alleged attacks in 2016, an increase of 12% on the previous year.

Last month, India's Cabinet passed an executive order introducing the death penalty for rapists of children under the age of 12. The change in the law will become permanent once it gains approval by India's Parliament, which is currently in recess.

India's Supreme Court ruled this week that the high-profile trial of the men accused of the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in the north of country must be moved to a different state, following threats leveled against the victim's family.