A 16-year-old girl was burned to death by her rapist after she and her family sought justice against her oppressors.
The man who is believed to be primarily responsible for the brutal attacks was arrested Saturday along with at least 14 other men who were involved in the incident in eastern Jharkhand state. The horror began when the accused man, Dhanu Bhuiyan, saw the teenage girl at her uncle’s wedding ceremony Thursday evening, according to the Indian Express newspaper.
The girl agreed to go on a motorcycle ride with Bhuiyan and his cousin, Sudhir Bhuiyan. The two men took her to a wooded area where she was allegedly raped before being brought back to the wedding about an hour later. Upon her return to the wedding, word had already spread about her disappearance. The girl’s family went on appeal to the village council and on Friday ordered Bhuiyan’s family to pay a fine of 50,000 rupees, or about $750, and apologize to the girl’s family. The two accused men were also told to do 100 sit-ups each.
However, Bhuiyan was so upset about the ruling, that a fistfight broke out. Dhanu also allegedly went to the girl’s house, where he physically assaulted her, poured gasoline on her and lit her on fire, before fleeing the scene. A search for Dhanu’s cousin, Sudhir Bhuiyan remains ongoing.
Village councils actually hold no legal authority but have a huge influence over India’s rural life within each local community. They work to resolve disputes to avoid India’s costly judicial system.
The teenage girl’s murder is the latest in a series of multiple sex crimes against women in India. Just last month, an 8-year-old Muslim girl was gang-raped and murdered. In 2016 alone, India’s crime records show about 40,000 rape cases reported. Rapes against minor children have more than doubled between 2012 and 2016, reflecting more than 40 percent of all sex crimes in the country.
Take a look at the response from the sex crimes in India below.