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Indian girl critically injured after being raped, set on fire in Jharkhand

Indians hold candles and placards during a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua on April 16, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

An Indian teenage is battling for her life after being raped and set alight, the second such tragic case in the past days to shock the country, which is grappling with a dramatic rise in sexual crimes.

The 17-year-old girl, who was attacked in a village in northeastern state of Jharkhand on Friday, is being treated in a private hospital in Berhampur in West Bengal, officials said on Monday.

“The girl has suffered 70 percent first-degree burns. There is a chance that she will survive,” said police superintendent of Pakur district, Shailendra Barnwal, said.

He said police have arrested a 19-year-old man, who lives in the same neighborhood and sent him to judicial custody.

“He poured kerosene on the girl and set her on fire,” Barnwal said.

The girl’s family has lodged a complaint with the police.

Chatra Deputy Commissioner Jitendra Singh (L) speaks with the family of the 16-year-old girl, who was gang raped and murdered on May 3, 2018 in Chatra of the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. (Photo by AFP)

It said a team of officers has also been sent to Berhampur in West Bengal where the girl is under treatment.

The sexual assault took place only a day after a minor was raped and burned to death in the same district.

Police arrested the main suspect in the former incident, in which he along with several other men, allegedly kidnapped a 16-year-old girl on Thursday night, took him to a nearby forest and raped her.

The victim was later murdered, according to police officer Ashok Ram.

The suspect, Dhanu Bhuiyan, is in custody, but he is not charged with any crime yet, CNN cited Jitendra Kumar Singh, deputy commissioner of Chatra District, as saying.

Police are waiting for a medical board to conduct an autopsy of the girl’s body.

Indians hold placards in reaction to a rape case during a rally in New Delhi on April 29, 2018. (Photo by AFP) 

The suspect was among 15 people detained in the case, according to Ram, who said that the local village council ordered the accused men to do 100 sit-ups and imposed a fine of 50,000 rupees ($750).

The penalty, according to him, enraged the men who later assaulted the victim’s parents and set their house on fire with the help of friends.

The girl died in the fire, Ram said.

The South Asian country is no stranger to such brutal incidents, 40,000 of which were reported only in 2016, while many of them remained unreported.

One of the worst cases, which made headlines across the world, occurred in New Delhi back in 2012.

The story of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student— widely referred to as Nirbhaya – was so shocking that prompted the government to pass numerous legislative reforms to increase penalties for sexual violence, including extending the length of prison sentences and introducing the death penalty.

Nirbhaya who was gang raped in the capital, was hurt so severely that some internal organs had to be removed, and she died two weeks after the assault.

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