NEW DELHI: A woman from India's marginalised Dalit community has died after being gang raped, police said on Thursday (Oct 1), days after the death of a teenager from the same low-caste group at the hands of a group of high-caste men sparked outrage.
The 22-year-old, a member of India's "untouchable" Dalit community, was allegedly raped by two men on Tuesday and died while being taken to hospital, police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh said.
The latest assaults come months after four men were hanged for the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi, a case that came to symbolise the nation's problems with sexual violence.
Police said that two men in the latest case had been arrested on charges of gang rape and murder, without giving further details on their identities.
An investigation was under way and the suspects may be tried in a special fast-track court, they added.
"A rickshaw-wallah (driver) brought her home. (She) was thrown in front of our house. My child could barely stand or speak," the NDTV news channel quoted her mother as saying.
The incident took place in Balrampur district in Uttar Pradesh state, about 500km from where the other Dalit girl was allegedly gang raped in mid-September by four upper-caste men.
The 19-year-old, who was left paralysed by her injuries, was rushed to hospital in New Delhi 200 kilometres away but died on Tuesday.
Her death sparked protests in Delhi and in cities in Uttar Pradesh.
Police imposed emergency laws in her village on Thursday, barring gatherings of more than five people after clashes erupted following her cremation.
The victim's brother told Reuters the cremation was carried out against the wishes of her family, who had wanted to perform their own funeral rites. Local officials deny this.
Twenty-five people were arrested in connection with the unrest, according to a police information report. An eye-witness told Reuters police had wielded batons during the clashes.
India's 200 million Dalits have long faced discrimination and abuse, and campaigners say attacks have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An average of 87 rape cases were reported every day last year, according to the latest data released on Tuesday by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.
The bureau reported an increase of more than seven per cent in the number of crimes against women in 2019 compared to the previous year.