(Guyana Guardian) Police in India have arrested fourteen people and is looking for four others after they were suspected of being a part of a gang that had burnt a 16-year-old girl alive after she exposed the names of two men that had raped her.
The rape had occurred in the village of Chatra, which is located in eastern Jharkhand state.
According to initial police reports, the two men had attacked and raped the young girl while she was alone at home, and her parents were away at a wedding.
Upon the parents return, the teenager told them what had occurred, which caused the parents to file a complaint with the village elders.
Though not a part of India’s legal system, village elders are generally highly respected, and usually, have the moral power to pass punishments for crimes committed within their communities.
So, in the case of the rape incident, the elders determined, after a trial, that as punishment, the two rapists should do 100 push-ups and pay a fine of 50,000 rupees (or US$750) to settle the matter.
However, the guilty verdict angered the two men who went away and bring back 16 of their friends to attack the girl in her home and then burn her alive, rather than paying the fine.
The incident has captured worldwide attention and a number of media houses around the world have been reporting various ongoing developments as it relates to the story.
A journalist at the Times of India had told the Guyana Guardian earlier today during a WhatsApp inquiry, that the problem has now become two-fold, since the village elders were also arrested mere hours ago for possible witness tampering, which seems to be a normal occurrence.
She explained that reports of criminal incidents are to be lodged with the police and not village elders, an issue that is still tolerated, often until something really bad such as this has happened.
In her opinion, the village elders can be expected to be released soon, since the police only usually take statements from them without attempting to lay any charges.
Though some media houses had reported that the girl was actually abducted from the wedding and then taken to another location, the Times of India journalist told this publication that most of the reports out there are somewhat speculative since the police have not provided any exact details about the moments leading up to the rape incident, as yet.
“Since the victim has died, the police are now relying on what the parents and the village elders (with whom the girl had spoken) would have to say, before they can provide something more definitive to the public”, she said.
One of the alleged rapists is said to be among the 14 people that were arrested, while the other and three of his accomplices are on the run.