Police in India’s West Bengal have held 13 people in connection with a gang rape of a woman allegedly on orders of village elders who objected to her relationship with a man. The 20-year-old woman has been admitted to a hospital in a critical condition. Unofficial courts in India’s villages often sanction killings of couples deemed to have violated local codes.
Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus. The government tightened laws on sexual violence last year after widespread protests following the attack. But violence and discrimination against women remain deeply entrenched in India’s staunchly patriarchal society. Police said the latest incident on Monday night was prompted by the relationship between a tribal woman and a non-tribal man belonging to an adjoining village in Birbhum district.