India: An arrested police officer accused of raping a teenager who has filed a gang rape complaint

A police commissioner has been arrested in India on charges of raping a 13-year-old girl who came to his station to make a complaint after she was allegedly raped by a gang, police officials said on Wednesday night.

Police authorities in Uttar Pradesh state (UP, North) told local press that a commissioner had been arrested and twenty-nine officers who were present at the police station at the time of the alleged sexual assault had been suspended from their duties.

Four other people and the alleged victim’s aunt were also arrested, police added.

The little girl belongs to the Dalit community, once called “the untouchables,” who are marginalized and abused by upper castes, mostly met with the indifference of the police.

According to the child’s father, who was quoted by the press, four men had raped him for several days over the past month.

When she finally decided to press charges last week, she was herself raped by the chief of the police station, the press told Childline, a child protection NGO that accompanies and advises the young alleged victim.

This new incident has sparked outrage and anger on social media.

“If police stations are not safe for women, then where will they complain?” Prominent Congresswoman Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, opposition party, asked on Twitter: “Has the UP government seriously considered increasing the use of women in police stations in order to… make them safe for women?”

Since the gang rape of a fellow tortured student on a bus in Delhi in 2012, who died from her injuries, India’s record of sexual violence has increasingly attracted international attention. A wave of demonstrations swept across the country and shook the world.

Since then, the laws and penalties for rape in India have been revised and tightened.

But crime rates remain high, with more than 28,000 reported rapes in 2020, according to the latest official data, which shows only the tip of the iceberg.

The Indian police are regularly accused of not doing enough to stop violent crime and fail to bring cases of sexual assault to justice.

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