NEW DELHI: An Indian court Thursday ordered protection for the family of a schoolgirl who was gang-raped twice and then burned to death in the country’s east, the father said.
The family sought protection from the High Court in the eastern city of Kolkata after vowing to fight for justice for their 16-year-old daughter, who died on New Year’s Eve after being set ablaze.
The father says his family has been threatened by members of the gang which raped his daughter on October 26 and then again the next day.
The second rape occurred as she was returning home in the town of Madhyagram, 25 kilometres north of Kolkata, after reporting the first attack at a police station.
The family moved house but gang members tracked them down, before allegedly setting their daughter on fire on December 23 at their home. She later died in hospital.
“I am satisfied and confident that we will get justice for our daughter,” the father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told AFP by phone from Kolkata after the court’s order.
Her death sparked protests in Kolkata and comes 12 months after the fatal gang-rape of a student on a moving bus in the capital that shocked the country and unleashed waves of anger over violence against women.
The High Court ordered the state to provide adequate protection to the family after hearing its petition, which also asks that the Central Bureau of Investigation take over the case
The family travelled to New Delhi earlier this week to meet the country’s President Pranab Mukherjee, vowing not to back down from their efforts to see those responsible prosecuted.
“I am also satisfied with the assurances I received from the honourable president. What else can I demand?” the father told AFP.
The family as well as activists and opposition parties have accused authorities from the West Bengal state government of failing to act swiftly after the girl lodged her initial complaint.
Police arrested and charged six men over the attacks only after the girl died.
Rampant rape, assault and harassment of women in India have been highlighted in the past 12 months after the fatal gang-rape of the 23-year-old student sparked nationwide outrage.
Parliament has since passed tougher laws to punish rapists.
Activists say rape victims often face severe threats and intimidation from their attackers, while police often discourage them from lodging complaints.