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New Delhi -
A teenager was allegedly forced to strip and molested by police when she refused to pay a bribe to lodge a rape complaint in northern India, officials said on Wednesday.
“The girl complained that the station house officer took her into a room and asked her to remove her clothes, so he could confirm if she had been sexually assaulted,” on Sunday, the region's police chief Lalit Kumar Singh said.
The victim, 18, “alleged she was later molested by the officer, who had demanded 50 000 rupees to lodge the rape complaint”, Singh added.
The Times of India reported the girl's age as 14, and said the alleged assault occurred after her father, who had taken her to the station, refused to pay the bribe.
The police launched a probe against the officer, in the Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh state, after the father complained to the police superintendent on Tuesday, the report said.
Singh said on Wednesday that police had charged the officer with molestation. Police had also arrested a suspect in connection with the teenager’s alleged rape.
Sexual violence has been the focus of public attention in India since the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in December triggered mass protests.
But activists say little has changed in attitudes towards sexual assault, and attacks on women and girls continue unabated.
Campaigners have said police officers' patriarchal and misogynist mindset deters victims from reporting sexual violence. - Sapa-dpa