9 Mar 2016

The 15-Year-Old Girl Who Was Brutally Raped and Burned in India Has Died

The 15-Year-Old Girl Who Was Brutally Raped and Burned in India Has Died

A teenage girl who was brutally raped and burned this week near New Delhi, India, died from her injuries on Wednesday, according to police.

The girl, who has not been identified, was attacked on Monday in Tigri village on the outskirts of the Indian capital. She was left in critical condition after her assailant sexually assaulted and beat her, then set fire to the rooftop terrace of her family's home, leaving her with burns that covered more than 95 percent of her body.

She was hospitalized in New Delhi and was fighting for her life on Tuesday, but Uttar Pradesh state police constable Yadram Singh announced on Wednesday that she did not survive, according to the Associated Press. The AP gave the girl's age as 15, but some reports have said she was 16.

"Unfortunately, she could not be saved despite the best efforts of the medical staff," Ashwani Kumar, an investigating police officer, told French news agency AFP.

Indian authorities have arrested a 20-year-old man on Tuesday in connection with the assault and charged him with a number offenses, including rape and attempted murder, which police said would be changed to murder after the girl's death, according to the AP.

The girl's family reportedly said the man had been stalking her for several months, and the her father had filed a police complaint that prompted police to issue a warning to him last year. The man's family claims the two were having a consensual relationship and has denied the allegations.

A recent Amnesty International report found that despite the recent push for reform, India has failed to protect women from violence. The report noted that 322,000 crimes against women — including 37,000 cases of rape — were reported in 2014. Those figures are believed to be significantly underestimated because of continued "stigma and discrimination" by police that deters women from reporting sexual violence.

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The fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old on a New Delhi bus four years ago sparked a national conversation about sexual violence in the country, prompting Indian lawmakers to hastily put together a package of measures to keep women safe and quell public anger. Some of those new measures included doubling prison sentences for rape crimes and criminalizing stalking. There have also been calls to better educate young men and women about sexual respect and safety, as well as to install streetlights and public bathrooms.