A 17-year-old girl in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand is in a critical condition after she was raped and then set on fire, police say.

A local man has been arrested in connection with the attack.

It is the second such incident to be reported in Jharkhand in recent days – another teenage girl who police say was raped and burned alive died on Sunday.

Police have not indicated the two cases are connected. They come as India reels from a string of violent sexual crimes.

In the latest Jharkhand case, the girl is undergoing treatment in hospital after suffering 95% burn injuries, police told BBC Hindi’s Ravi Prakash.

“The accused told us that he wanted to marry the victim but she wasn’t ready,” police officer Shailendra Barnwal said. They added that he attacked her on Friday in her relative’s house in a village in Pakur district. The accused lived close by.

According to the police, he waited until she was alone, then broke into the house and raped her before setting her alight.

Neighbours reportedly rushed to the house on hearing her screams and took her to hospital.

The main suspect and 14 others have already been arrested in connection with the earlier rape and burning case in the state. It came to light in Chatra district, about 380km (236 miles) from Pakur, late on Friday.

There has been outrage in India over two other rape cases, including one in which an eight-year-old girl was murdered.

As a result of the protests that followed, India’s cabinet approved the introduction of the death penalty for those who rape children.

A number of serious crimes in India carry the death penalty, but raping a child was not among them until now.

About 40,000 rape cases were reported in India in 2016.

Many cases, however, are believed to go unreported because of the stigma that is attached to rape and sexual assault.

 

BBC