A gang-rape victim who was set on fire in India by a group of men as she travelled to court to testify against her alleged attackers has died.
The unnamed woman, 23, was set upon by a gang, including two of the five men she had accused of forcing themselves on her last year.
They had been released on police bail and allegedly dragged her into a field, where she was doused in kerosene and set alight.
She suffered 90% burns and died late on Friday night of a heart attack, according to doctors in India.
Her death came the same day that police shot dead four men being held on suspicion of raping and killing a 27-year-old vet.
The horrific attack against the 23-year-old happened in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is notorious for its poor record regarding crimes against women.
She had filed a rape complaint with police in Unnao district in March alleging she had been raped at gunpoint last December.
Her alleged attackers had been remanded in custody but were released last week ahead of the trial.
The woman was taken to a hospital in the state capital of Lucknow after she was set on fire and airlifted across the country for better medical care.
She died at the Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi from a cardiac arrest, according to head of the hospital’s burns unit Dr Shalab Kumar. Five men have been arrested in connection with the attack.
Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state and has some of the highest number of reported rapes in the country, including more than 4,200 in 2017.
The state government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been heavily criticised by political opponents for failing to provide the woman with any security.
The BJP came under fire in July over allegations it protected a lawmaker accused of rape. Nearly 100 rapes are reported in India every single day, according to the last recorded crime statistics.
In recent days there has been growing outrage after the gang rape and murder of Priyanka Reddy, a vet in the southern city of Hyderabad.
Her charred remains were found less than half a mile from the scene of the rape, which happened when a lorry driver stopped to help her with a flat tyre.
Before standing trial, the four accused men were taken by officers back to the scene of the alleged crime.
Officers said one of the suspects tried to grab a policeman’s gun to escape and all four were shot dead. An investigation has been launched into their deaths.
Gender-based violence is a daily issue for many women in India and the latest cases have deepened the anger.
Officials have called on women to come home earlier at night or avoid using transport at certain times.
Activists say that talk needs to move away from how women can prevent being attacked to focus on the behaviour of the male rapists. (Metro UK)