A master’s student at India’s MD University in Rohtak was found in the bushes last week, her clothes torn and the victim of an apparent abduction and rape, cops say—and her attackers look to be the same five men who gang-raped her three years ago, the Times of India reports.
Two of the accused had been arrested after the last rape in Bhiwani, but were eventually let out on bail, while the other three were never arrested at all.
Her family says she was attacked again because they kept pursuing the case, seeking to have all five put behind bars despite offers to settle the case out of court for a relatively large sum of money.
“We were getting constant threats from the accused to reach a compromise outside the court, but we remained firm,” the brother of the woman, said to be either 20 or 21 years old, tells the Hindustan Times.
The case underscores ongoing struggles with the country’s caste system, technically illegal for more than 60 years, but far from disappeared. The young woman is a Dalit, considered the lowest, “untouchable” caste, while at least three of the accused are said to be from an upper caste.
The Washington Post notes that the outcry against rape cases involving victims from lower castes is often “muted,” and that the region where this most recent rape took place is still held in the grip of patriarchal domination, where, “male-dominated village councils often mete out their brand of misogynistic justice with impunity.” The Indian Express reports that the woman’s family had moved to Rohtak from Bhiwani after the last assault, fearing she would be ostracized and because they feared the accused men, who are all in their late 20s.
The victim was hospitalized and treated; the five men have yet to be arrested. (An elderly nun was gang-raped in India last year.)