A woman in India has paid a high price for falling in love with the wrong man.
The 20-year-old was brutally gang raped on the orders of a village council in West Bengal state on Tuesday, reports said Thursday.
Her crime? Having a relationship with a man from another community.
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Village elders imposed the horrific penalty after the woman’s family said they couldn’t afford to pay the fine of 25,000 rupees (about $400) for the affair.
Police have arrested about a dozen men over the attack, which has left the woman in a critical condition in hospital.
The incident took place in the Subalpur village, about 150 miles west of the capital Kolkata, where the woman lived. The man was from a nearby village.
"The relationship was going on for almost five years. When the man visited the woman's home on Monday with the proposal of marriage, villagers spotted him and organized a kangaroo court. During the 'proceedings', the couple were made to sit with hands tied," district police chief C. Sudhakar told the BBC.
"As the parents of the girl, who were also present at the meeting, expressed their inability to pay the fine, the head of the village council ordered that she should be raped by the villagers as punishment," Sudhakar told the Agence France-Presse.
The man was freed after he agreed to pay the fine.
The incident has cast the spotlight back on India’s grim record of sexual violence against women. Despite tougher laws, the number of sexual assaults continue to rise.
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In one of the most shocking incidents of recent times, a 23-year-old student was gang raped in New Delhi on a moving bus in December 2012. She later died from the injuries sustained during the brutal attack, which sent shockwaves across the nation and the world.
Earlier this month, a Danish woman was allegedly gang-raped and robbed in the capital after asking for directions to her hotel.
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