ROHTAK, India – Police officers in northern India on Tuesday arrested three men suspected of kidnapping and raping a 20-year-old college student last week, allegedly targeting her a second time as punishment for accusing them of raping her before.
The men were among a group of five accused of assaulting the woman three years ago. Two of the three men arrested on Tuesday had been the only ones charged in the 2013 rape case and were out on bail when the second assault is said to have occurred, according to K.P. Singh, the director general of police in the northern Indian state of Haryana.
The shocking nature of the allegations drew politicians and activists to the local police station and the hospital where the woman was being treated. Some excoriated the police for waiting six days to make an arrest.
Investigators said they were waiting for forensic evidence to determine whether the woman had been raped a second time.
There were conflicting accounts of what happened last Wednesday, when the police said they found the woman on a roadside in an intoxicated state.
Praveen Kumar, a cousin of the victim, said she had been abducted and forced to drink alcohol or a drug, then taken to an unknown place and gang-raped. He said she was found with torn clothing and bruises on her neck and too traumatized to speak.
“She only nods her head yes and no,” he said. “ She keeps saying, ‘They will kill us all.’ ”
Mr. Kumar said the men who had been charged with raping his cousin had been intimidating the family to pressure the victim to drop the charges. “These are the same five men who gang-raped her in 2013,” he said.
The victim is a member of India’s Dalit community, once known as untouchables. Her younger brother, Prince, 18, said she had identified her assailants.
“All I know is she said, ‘Brother, they were the same five,’ ” he said. But the police were cautious, saying all the facts were not yet in. (THE NEW YORK TIMES)