Indian police hunt for 5 accused of gang raping woman

Activists angered by recent rapes in Uttar Pradesh state, New Delhi. The number of reported rape cases in India have risen by 60 per cent since 2012 to around 40,000 in 2016.

MUMBAI - Police in India said on Sunday (July 15) that they were looking for five men after a 35-year-old woman was gang raped and burned alive in the northern city of Sambhal, the latest registered rape in a country that sees hundreds of cases of sexual violence against women each year.

Varun Kumar, an inspector at the Rajpura police station in Sambhal in the state of Uttar Pradesh, said a case had been filed against the five men, who they said had barged into the woman's home at around 2.30am on Saturday and raped her, then burned her body and dumped it at a temple nearby.

More than 100 rape cases are reported each day in India.

The recent rapes of an eight-year-old girl and a teenager in two states ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party led to public protests, prompting the Indian government in April to introduce the death penalty for rape of girls under the age of 12 and increase the minimum punishment for those whose victims are under 16.

Crime statistics analysed by Reuters show that the number of reported rape cases in India had risen by 60 per cent since 2012 to around 40,000 in 2016, and the conviction rate for crimes against women was generally lower than for most other crimes.

The case in Sambhal comes after a three-year-old girl was reported to have been raped on Friday by a lifeguard at a school in Noida, a satellite city close to New Delhi.

Manoj Kumar Pant, an officer at the Surajpur police station in Noida, said on Sunday that the accused was arrested after the parents reported the incident on Friday.

The parents learnt about the rape when they took the girl for medical tests after she complained of pain, police said.