A 23-year-old woman in northern India was set on fire by five men as she traveled to a court hearing on her rape case. Two of the men arrested for setting her on fire are also men accused of raping her. The woman was eventually airlifted to a hospital in Dehli where she is undergoing treatment for extensive burns.
On Thursday morning, television station NDTV reported that she was attacked by the five men who poured kerosene on her body. “The two men set the 23-year-old afire to take revenge,” a senior police officer from Lucknow told NDTV.
She “walked nearly a kilometer screaming for help before a witness saw her and called the police.” The woman spoke to the police as a witness held up his cell phone, the station reported.
“We saw her coming towards us, screaming for help. She had been set on fire. We were scared. She had walked for nearly one km before she reached us,” a witness said.
According to reports, the woman is conscious but in critical condition.
The 23-year-old’s rape case had been fast-tracked by the courts, part of a nation-wide effort to address violence against women in the country. CNN reports that India’s National Crime Records Bureau reported 32,000 rapes in 2017, a number that is likely much higher given the stigma (and even danger) faced by those who report. A number of horrific rape cases within the country have recently made international headlines. In 2012, a young woman died after she was kidnapped and gang-raped on a bus. In November, a 27-year-old veterinarian was raped and murdered in Hyderabad. The latter case has lead to public calls for greater action on violence against women.