One man was killed and two others were badly hurt today by villagers in India who accused them of raping and hanging a seven-year-old girl. The girl was discovered hanging from a tree near the village of Kaliabazar, West Bengal, this morning and angry villagers quickly rounded up a local 'Tantrik' holy man and his two friends.
The trio were mercilessly beaten. One later died in hospital and the two others are still being treated. Continue...
After a string of high-profile cases, India has become notorious for savage sexual attacks on often young women and girls. However, the number of rapes recorded in the country is still far lower than countries such as the U.S. and UK, according to figures from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The victim in the most-recent case had gone missing last night, after apparently going out to the neighbourhood shop. The Hindustan Times reports that people went around the village to gather a search party, which found her body handing from a tree.
Word spread and rumours began circulating that she had been gang-raped, spurring villagers to round up Ratan Das, a local Tantrik, or Hindu witchdoctor, and two of his associates. The mob beat up the men and also set fire to a house belonging to Das, who had been seen with the victim yesterday morning. Then they went to police.
Sukesh Kumar Jain, East Midnapore Superintendent of Police, told the Hindustan Times: 'The father of the girl lodged a complaint at the local police station against three persons. 'One of the three accused has already died.' There is as yet no evidence that the girl was raped before she was killed.
Police said they are not ruling out a family feud as the motive behind the killing. 'We are awaiting the autopsy report to confirm rape,' said a police officer. 'There was also some enmity between the families of the girl and the prime accused, Ratan Das.'