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Girl who protested against India village elders found dead

File - Apolice dog stands near the tree where two teenage girls were found hanging after they were gang raped in Katra village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh state. (AP Photo/Rajeev Pal)

KOLKATA: Police have arrested three men over the suspected rape and murder of a teenager who had protested against village elders’ harassment of her father in India’s east, an officer said Wednesday.

The father of the 16-year-old said she went missing after trying to save him from being attacked by village elders as punishment for failing to repay a loan, according to the officer.

Elders of the village council in West Bengal state instead turned on the girl Monday night and demanded that she lick spittle off the ground, the NDTV network quoted villagers as saying.

The girl had begged the village elders not to thrash her father, who had been brought before them over the loan to borrow a tractor, local media reported.

Village elders still hold huge sway in deeply impoverished Indian villages and often act as a parallel legal system, settling disputes and handing down judgements.

“Police arrested three people after the girl’s father lodged a complaint that she was raped and murdered,” additional superintendent of police James Kujur told AFP.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 04, 2014, on page 11.

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