Woman allegedly gang raped, tortured and paraded through streets

Workers of Mahila Congress (Women's wing of the Indian National Congress) light candles during a protest after the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman in New Delhi, India, in a September 6, 2021 file photo. / Credit: Pankaj Nangia/Anadolu Agency/Getty (Pankaj Nangia/Anadolu Agency/Getty)
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New Delhi — Police in the Indian capital have arrested 11 people, including nine women, after the alleged brutal gang rape and torture of a young woman that included her being paraded through the streets and humiliated. The incident took place on Wednesday in East Delhi's Kasturba Nagar area as the nation celebrated Republic Day — marked by a grand military parade through Central Delhi.

The woman, 20, was allegedly abducted and raped by a group of men in a revenge attack. The victim's head was shaved, face blackened, and a garland of shoes put around her neck as she was hit and paraded through the streets in East Delhi. Video of that part of the abuse went viral, causing widespread outrage.

It shows a group of women forcing the victim to walk and hitting her while onlookers cheer. The victim's family has said her attackers are connected to a family in which a teenage boy died by suicide last November. They say the boy was stalking and pursuing the victim for a long time but when his advances were rejected, he took his life.

The woman is married and has a 3-year-old son.

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"He fell in love with her… He used to keep calling and asking her to leave her husband and be with him. She would always refuse," the victim's sister told an Indian news outlet. After the boy's suicide, his family had reportedly threatened the woman several times, prompting her to move recently.

The Delhi police said they were investigating the case and more arrests were expected soon.

The victim's family has been given police protection.

Delhi's Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, called the attack "shameful" and urged strict action against the perpetrators.

The alleged attack in the Indian capital is the latest in a string of rapes, and part of wider plague of sexual violence against Indian women.

Workers of Mahila Congress (Women's wing of the Indian National Congress) light candles during a protest after the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman in New Delhi, India, in a September 6, 2021 file photo. / Credit: Pankaj Nangia/Anadolu Agency/Getty
Workers of Mahila Congress (Women's wing of the Indian National Congress) light candles during a protest after the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman in New Delhi, India, in a September 6, 2021 file photo. / Credit: Pankaj Nangia/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Last year, a 34-year-old woman in Mumbai died after being raped and brutally tortured — bringing back memories of the 2012 Delhi rape and murder of a young medical student, which sparked massive protests and made international headlines.

Despite recently tightened laws against rape, India has struggled to address its severe crisis of sexual violence against women.

More than 32,000 rapes were reported in 2019, the most recent year for which government data is available. That's nearly four rapes every hour over the course of the year, on average, and those numbers represent only the cases that are reported to authorities, and only rapes, not other sexual violence.

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