India

A 20-year-old Indian woman is currently fighting for her life after a Kangaroo court in India ordered her to be gang-raped by 13 men for having an affair with a youth from another village.

The police said that the punishment was allegedly carried out by the very same ‘court’ which found her guilty in a village near Suri in west Bengal state, 150 miles from Kolkata. It has also been stated that 10 of the accused men made up the kangaroo court and have since been arrested for rape and one of them men is the village headman.

Kangaroo courts are mock courts in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted. It has been said that these courts are a threat to Indian democracy as they are made up of local elders who wield great influence over life in rural India. They often give out punishments for offences which they believe go against local traditions.

It has been reported that the female victim and her lover were ordered to pay 25,000 rupees ($400; £240) for ‘the crime of falling in love’. The man paid but the female victim and her family could not afford to do so. As a result, the village headman, who is believed to be a distant relative of the woman, then allegedly ordered the rape. It has been reported that this 20 year old woman is only alive because ‘she is a tough tribal girl’.

This is another sad example of how women are still not seen as equals in Indian society and are treated as second rate citizens. Although India has tightened its anti-rape laws as a result of the brutal gang rape that happened in Delhi in 2012, women across India still live in great fear of sexual assault and victims still often have to deal with police apathy.