July 7, 2018 / 2:23 PM / 4 months ago

Indian police charge five in death of rape victim's father

FILE PHOTO: A woman reacts at a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl, in Kathua, near Jammu and a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh state, in New Delhi, India April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian police on Saturday charged five people, including the brother of a lawmaker from the ruling party, in relation to the death of the father of a teenage girl raped last year.

Atul Singh Sengar, the brother of the arrested lawmaker, along with four others were accused of brutally assaulting the rape victim’s father who “sustained serious injuries”, federal police said in a statement. The five are in custody.

More than 100 rapes are reported in India every day, but strong political overtones have crept into this particular case.

The rape victim’s father died in April while in the custody of police in northern Uttar Pradesh state, ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Police arrested Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a BJP member of the state legislature of Uttar Pradesh, in April in connection with the rape of the teenager.

Rapes of an eight-year-old girl and the teenager in two states ruled by Modi’s party led to public protests prompting his federal government to introduce in April the death penalty for rape of girls under 12 and increase the minimum punishment for those whose victims were under 16.

There were 40,000 rapes reported in India in 2016 and the victims were children in 40 percent of those cases. Every day, newspapers carry fresh stories of sexual violence against women.

Registered cases of sexual violence have been rising despite the national outrage that followed the fatal gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012.

Writing by Malini Menon; Editing by Stephen Powell

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