Five activists have been allegedly abducted and gang-raped at gunpoint in India’s eastern state of Jharkhand.
The female activist, who work with a non-governmental organisation supported by local Christian missionaries, were staging street plays against human trafficking in Khunti, a predominantly tribal district on Tuesday when they were attacked.
A local police officer said;
“As the play was in progress, a group of six armed men came on bikes and beat up the men accompanying them.
“They then took the women away at gunpoint to the forests nearby where they were sexually assaulted,’’
The victims, aged between 19 and 35, were later released by their abductors.
The victims went on to file a police complaint on Wednesday, while police arrested one of the suspects on Thursday and detained several more for questioning.
Police said the attackers were supporters of Pathalgadi, a tribal system that considers the village council the sole authority governing the village and which does not recognise the state’s authority. The police officer said;
“The heinous crime was committed apparently by supporters of this movement, who wanted to send a message to NGOs and government agencies to stay clear of their villages,’’
Media reports said the rapists made a video and used it to threaten the women with exposure if they complained.
Attacks on women, particularly sexual violence, have been a focus in India since the fatal gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 triggered mass protests.