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In India, Fifth Person Is Arrested In Gang Rape, Murder Case

Indian police keep watch at the tree where the bodies of gang rape victims were found hanging.
Chandan Khanna
AFP/Getty Images
Indian police keep watch at the tree where the bodies of gang rape victims were found hanging.

Police have made a fifth arrest in connection to another alleged gang rape and murder in India.

The two girls, ages 14 and 15, were killed and then hanged from a tree in a village more than 100 miles east of New Delhi. The case sparked demonstrations against what villagers perceived was official inaction.

CNN reports that on Saturday, villagers called for the perpetrators to be hanged. The network adds:

"In the northern village where the attack occurred, crowds surrounded the girls for hours after their bodies were found Wednesday. They accused authorities of siding with the suspects and blocked them from taking the girls down from their nooses unless arrests are made.

"Authorities arrested five men — three brothers and two police officers — who are facing rape and murder charges, said R.K.S. Rathore, a senior police officer.

"In addition, the officers face charges of conspiracy in the crime and negligence of duty after villagers accused them of failing to respond when they first pinpointed the suspects."

As we've reported, this is another in a series of sexual violence cases that has united the country in anger.

Reuters adds that this is an early test for new Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his four-day-old government.

His new Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked the "Uttar Pradesh government to submit a report on the attack."

The Guardian reports that the government had also previously committed to set up a "rape crisis cell."

"Indian police and politicians, who for decades had done little about sexual violence, have faced growing public anger since the December 2012 gang-rape and murder of a young woman on a moving New Delhi bus, an attack that sparked national outrage," the Guardian reports.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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