This Article is From Jan 24, 2014

West Bengal gang-rape, allegedy ordered by village council, stuns Supreme Court

West Bengal gang-rape, allegedy ordered by village council, stuns Supreme Court
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today staged an intervention in the horrific case of a young woman in Bengal who was allegedly gang-raped on the orders of a village council.

The court called the case "disturbing", and asked the district judge in Birbhum, the area where the sexual assault took place on Monday, to visit the village where the woman lives and file a report on the facts within a week.

The 20-year-old woman in Birbhum, 180 kms from the state capital of Kolkata was gang-raped by 13 men on the orders of village elders as punishment for having a relationship with a man from a different community, police officers have said.

The woman and her male companion were first tied up to a tree and asked to pay Rs 25,000 each as a penalty for their relationship, the woman's family said. They could not afford the fine, so the woman says the village headman then ordered others to "enjoy" her.

"We arrested all the 13 men, including the village chief who ordered the gang rape. The accused have been produced in court which remanded them to jail custody,"  said Birbhum's Superintendent of Police, C. Sudhaka.

The assault comes after a spate of high profile rapes in West Bengal which have brought Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee under fire for not doing enough to stop violence against women.

West Bengal recorded the highest number of gender crimes in the country at 30,942 in 2012 - 12.7 percent of India's total recorded crimes against women. These crimes include rape, kidnapping and sexual harassment and molestation.

Earlier this month, Kolkata witnessed public protests against police who have been accused of failing to act on the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl who was later burnt alive.