Indian Village Head Arrested for Ordering Gang Rape of Woman as Punishment for Dating

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 23 2014 9:10 PM

Indian Village Head Arrested for Ordering Gang Rape of Woman as Punishment for Dating

Indian students participate in an anti-rape protest in Hyderabad on September 13, 2013.

Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Indian police arrested 13 men in connection to a brutal gang rape of a 20-year-old woman in a village in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. The rape was allegedly ordered by a village leader as punishment for dating a man outside of her community. The New York Times reports that according to local news outlets, villagers took the woman and her partner to the village square and tied them to separate trees as punishment for their relationship.

The woman filed a police report, the Wall Street Journal reports, outlining the vicious attack:

In her complaint, the woman from West Bengal said the head of her village council “ordered a mass rape,” after learning she was seeing a man from another community, said Prasanta Chowdhury, a senior police official in the state. The couple, who hail from a northern district in the state, were initially asked to pay 27,000 rupees, or $435, as a fine. Whey they failed to make the payment, the council ruled the woman must be thrashed and raped for violating traditional norms, Mr.  Chowdhury said. At least 13 men, including the village head, stripped and raped her on Monday, the woman said in her complaint… In Monday’s attack, Mr. Chowdhury said, the village council ruled the woman should be gang-raped by men in her village in order to “cleanse her” of relations she had with a man from a neighboring village. The woman, who is undergoing treatment in a state-run hospital, could not be reached for comment. Indian law forbids naming rape victims without permission from the individual or family.

According to the Times, the village head threatened to burn down her family home if the woman reported the rape to authorities, but the family notified police on Wednesday and the 13 suspects were arrested and charged. The sexual assault comes on the heels of the gang rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist in New Delhi and a series of high-profile rapes in the country over the last year sparking outrage, protests, and a national debate on preventing sexual violence against women in the country.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Photos of the Crowds That Took Over NYC for the People’s Climate March

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

I Wrote a Novel Envisioning a Nigerian Space Program. Then I Learned Nigeria Actually Has One.

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 22 2014 11:10 AM Protesters and Counterprotesters at Moscow’s Big Anti-War March
Business Insider
Sept. 22 2014 9:39 AM Adrian Peterson Has a Terrible Contract, and Cutting Him Would Save the Vikings a Lot of Money
The Eye
Sept. 22 2014 9:12 AM What Is This Singaporean Road Sign Trying to Tell Us?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.