India police arrest three over alleged gang-rape at gunpoint

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NEW DELHI (AFP) – Indian police Tuesday arrested three men suspected of gang-raping a 16-year-old at gunpoint and filming the attack in New Delhi, the latest in a series of sexual assault cases in the country.

The girl was on her way to school on July 19 when four of five suspects, three of whom are juveniles, took her to the house of the fifth man and allegedly attacked her.

“Police have arrested Pramod and his two minor accomplices while a manhunt has been launched to nab Surendra Pehalwan and the other minor accused,” said a senior police officer, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The accused told the victim they would post the footage online if she tried to report the crime.

“The matter came to light yesterday (Monday) when she experienced some problems and told her parents about the incident,” the officer said, adding that police made the arrests hours after the parents filed an official complaint.

The incident comes just a week after a seven-year-old girl was found hanging from a tree in a village in West Bengal state. Locals suspect she was raped.

The attack bore a chilling resemblance to the fatal gang-rape of two girls, aged 12 and 14, in late May in northern Uttar Pradesh state, where they were found hanging from a tree.

This month, in the southern city of Bangalore, the alleged rape of a six-year-old girl in a school triggered a series of street protests by angry parents and political activists over the lack of safety for women and children in the country.

In 2012, the fatal gang-rape of a student on a moving bus in New Delhi led to a public outcry and tougher laws to deter rapists.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised a “zero tolerance” approach.

But violence against women is deeply engrained in some segments of Indian society, activists say, while government crime statistics show one rape is reported every 21 minutes.

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