India: Alleged rape victim, 16, dies after being set on fire

Jan. 3, 2014 at 1:33 PM
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KOLKATA, India, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A teenage Indian girl allegedly set on fire by two men accused of raping her was pregnant when she died, officials say.

The 16-year-old girl was set ablaze in her home near the Kolkata airport Dec. 23, and died New Year's Eve, the Hindustan Times reported. She told police her attackers were two of the men accused of participating in gang rapes in October.

The family had moved to the airport area from the Kolkata suburb of Madhyamgram after receiving death threats. Six men allegedly sexually assaulted her Oct. 26 and she was allegedly raped again the next day as punishment for reporting the initial attack to police.

Her father said she was killed to prevent her from testifying. Her alleged attackers now face murder charges.

Investigators said the fetus the girl was carrying is being tested to determine if one of the accused is the father.

Sexual assault has become a national issue in India since a young woman was fatally injured in an attack by the driver and passengers on a New Delhi bus. In Kolkata, the city formerly known as Calcutta, Bengal Chief Secretary Sanjoy Mitra accused opposition leaders of exploiting the 16-year-old's death for political purposes.

"If we are accused of indulging in politics while seeking justice for such victims, please note that we have to do this brand of politics," Left Front chairman Biman Bose responded.

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