Archive for ‘assault’


Indian woman alleges assault by mother-in-law for defying temple ban

KOCHI, India (Reuters) – One of two Indian women who entered an ancient Hindu hill temple in southern India this month in defiance of a centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age alleged she was beaten up by her mother-in-law on Tuesday, police said.

Kanaka Durga, 39, a civil servant, suffered injuries to her head and had to be hospitalised, police said. She claims she was attacked only minutes after she returned to her home from spending a month at undisclosed locations fearing attacks by conservative Hindu groups, police said.

“We received a complaint from Kanaka Durga alleging that she was attacked by family members of her husband when she returned home after entering the temple,” said Jaya Mani, officer in charge of Perinthalmanna police station in Malappuram district, which is in the state of Kerala where the Sabarimala temple is located.

Police were investigating, Mani said.


A second police source said Durga had alleged she was assaulted by the mother-in-law. The mother-in-law had denied the allegation, he said.

Durga did not return calls seeking comment. The family members, including Durga’s mother-in-law, could not be reached for comment.

The Sabarimala temple has been the site of tension since India’s Supreme Court ruled in late September to end a ban on women and girls aged from 10-50 from entering.

The temple refused to abide by the ruling and subsequent attempts by women to visit were blocked by thousands of devotees.

That was until Bindu Ammini, 40, a law lecturer at Kerala’s Kannur University, and Durga finally succeeded in entering the temple on Jan. 2 through a side entrance in the middle of the night. Some other women have claimed they have got into the temple since then.

Their entry sparked widespread protests and a day-long strike in Kerala led in part by members of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

“The attack is a natural reaction of the family members, who are strong believers of the temple’s customs and rituals,” Ammini said.

“Her friends told me that her family members were angry with her action. They have unleashed their anger when they saw her.”


Woman set on fire in India after complaining of attempted assault

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Two men accused of trying to molest a 20-year-old woman in northern India set her on fire two days later after she lodged a complaint with police, authorities and her family said.

Women in India have struggled to secure prosecution for sexual attacks in the face of widespread police indifference, rights activists say.

The woman was in a field near her home in the Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh state when the men, both neighbours and known to her family, accosted her and tried to drag her away, her brother Vinod Kumar told Reuters.

She bit their hands and managed to break free and escape, and her father filed a complaint with police same day, he said. When no action resulted, the family lodged a second complaint.

“We waited for the police to come for inquiries the entire day but no one came,” Vinod said.

The next day, the two men returned to the field where she was working, doused her with kerosene and set her on fire, Regional police superintendent Prabhakar Chaudhary told Reuters. She suffered burns to 40 percent of her body and was hospitalised.

Chaudhary said her suspected attackers were arrested and three policemen suspended for dereliction of duties.

After a gruesome gang rape of a young woman in 2012, India launched fast-track courts and a tougher rape law that included the death penalty. But crime statistics indicate sexual assault on women have risen, not fallen, since then.

Even if cases are registered, crime statistics show that police files remain open for about a third of all rapes that were investigated for each year between 2012 and 2016.

Rights groups have accused Indian police of bowing to pressure from local politicians to bury investigations. In some cases investigations of sexual assault have evaporated out of sheer police apathy, activists say.

Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Mark Heinrich

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