Unnao Rape case fire Sexual violence against women has been a focus in India in recent years
Sexual violence against women has been a focus in India in recent years. PIX: GETTY IMAGES via BBC

UNNAO – A 23-year-old alleged rape victim is fighting for her life after she was set on fire while going to court in northern India.

The woman was on her way to a hearing in the case she filed against two men in March, in Uttar Pradesh state.

She is in critical condition in hospital, where she is being treated for severe burns.

Five men including two of her alleged rapists have been arrested on suspicion of setting her on fire, police say.

The woman was on her way to a train station when a group of men assaulted her and dragged her to a nearby field, where they set her on fire, according to reports in local media.

Doctors treating her in the hospital in Lucknow city said she had received 90% burn injuries and that she would soon be flown in an air ambulance to the capital, Delhi, for better medical care.

The incident occurred in Unnao district, which was recently in the news over another rape case.

Police opened a murder investigation against a ruling party lawmaker in July after a woman who accused him of rape was seriously injured in a car crash.

Two of her aunts were killed and her lawyer was injured.

This latest incident has sparked widespread outrage in India, which is still reeling from a shocking murder and rape case that grabbed headlines just under a week ago.

A 27-year-old vet in the southern city of Hyderabad was raped and set on fire on 27 November. Protests were held across the country after the victim’s charred remains were found following her disappearance last week.

According to the latest government crime figures, police registered 33,658 cases of rape in India in 2017 – that’s an average of 92 rapes every day. -BBC

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