NEW DELHI (AP) — Police in northern India said Wednesday that they have arrested two men for raping a young woman for the second time in three years after she refused to withdraw the case against them.
The woman, a college student in her early 20s, was in stable condition at a hospital in Haryana state following last week's attack, said senior state police officer Sanjay Kumar Singh. Police arrested a third suspect this week and were looking for two others.
The attack highlights the persistence of violence against women in India despite the outcry following the December 2012 death of a woman who was gang raped on a bus in New Delhi that led to stronger laws against sexual assault.
A top UNICEF official said the reported gang rape of a young Dalit woman in India by the same men who had raped her three years ago underlines the heinous culture of impunity that surrounds violence against girls and women.
"Approximately 120 million girls worldwide - 1 in every 10 - will experience sexual violence. The majority of these girls are violated for the first time between the ages of 15 and 19. But outrage is not enough. We need action now to end this brutality that has become routine and to give the victims of violence the justice and protection they deserve," said Anju Malhotra, UNICEF's principal gender adviser, in a statement.
When the young woman was raped the first time in 2013, three men were arrested. Two of them were freed on bail pending the outcome of the trial, which is ongoing. K. P. Singh, another police officer, said that those two were among five men who gang-raped the woman last week.
The woman's family, who are poor and from the lowest caste, had moved to another town after the first attack because they were threatened by the suspects.
The accused, who face life sentences if convicted in the first case, allegedly offered 5 million rupees ($73,500) to the woman's family to drop the rape complaint, the NDTV news channel cited the family as saying.
The woman told police that she was gang-raped again on July 13 because she was unwilling to withdraw the case.
According to Singh, the state police officer, the woman was abducted from outside her college in the town of Rohtak and raped by the men, who later dumped her at a desolate spot in the town. Police found the victim lying unconscious and admitted her to a hospital.
Rohtak is 90 kilometers (55 miles) west of New Delhi.