Indian police on Monday arrested two men accused of killing their rape victims in target shootings in northern Uttar Pradesh state, officials said.
Assailants over the weekend had shot dead two alleged rape victims in two unrelated incidents in Mau and Sitapur districts in India’s most populous state, causing concern over the safety of rape victims.
Police said they arrested Pradeep Lodh for Saturday’s shooting of a 22-year-old woman, while she was out with her husband in the Maholi area of Sitapur district. The woman had accused Lodh of raping her and he was currently on bail. “The accused was identified by her [the victim’s] husband and we have arrested him,” said Rang Bahadur Singh, an officer at Maholi police station.
A day later an 18-year-old alleged rape victim was shot dead by a group of six men on two motorcycles in the Dakshin Tola area of Mau district. The woman was on her way to see a doctor with her brother, when she was shot at close range before the attackers fled on their motorbikes.
Police said they had arrested a man called Nageena Singh. The family blamed six persons in their police complaint for the murder. “We have arrested Nageena Singh and efforts are on to nab others,” said Suresh Kumar Mishra, a local police officer. He said the slain woman was allegedly gang raped in 2011 by two men and the court was due to pronounce the judgment this week.
Intimidation of rape victims by the accused is common in India, where many victims are forced to withdraw police complaints, but killings remain rare.
India recorded 132,000 cases of sexual offences against women in 2014, and some 12,400 occurred in Uttar Pradesh, according to figures from the National Crime Records Bureau.
India introduced tough laws against sex offenders in the wake of the fatal gang-rape of a Delhi student in the capital in December 2012 that sparked mass street protests. But sexual violence against women has continued at frightening levels throughout the country.