Four suspects charged over rape-murder of Dalit woman in northern India


India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has charged four men for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, in a case that sparked outrage across the country and internationally.

This comes nearly three months after the Dalit girl from a village in Hathras said that she had been raped by four upper caste men in her village before dying of her injuries.

Local police’s handling of the investigation was widely criticised, with allegations that they had deliberately mismanaged the case which prompted authorities to transfer it to the CBI.

The four suspects, who all belonged to a higher caste, allegedly attacked and raped the victim in a field in Hathras district. She died two weeks later.

The victim’s family accused local police of cremating her body without their consent, although the authorities denied this.

A senior state official also appeared to imply the woman was not raped because semen was not found.

Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, face widespread discrimination and even violence in India, despite laws to protect them.

Rape and sexual violence have been under the spotlight in India since the 2012 Delhi bus rape and murder case, which led to huge protests and changes to the country’s rape laws. But there has been little sign of crimes against women and girls abating. (Source: BBC)