New Delhi - Police in eastern India have made two arrests over the rape of an 11-year-old girl which was allegedly ordered by a village leader to punish her brother, an officer said on Friday.
Police said medical examinations confirmed the girl had been assaulted on Monday, with investigators now working to unravel another shocking case of sexual violence in India.
Anurag Gupta, spokesman for police in the impoverished eastern state of Jharkhand, said the girl's brother was accused of attempting to molest a neighbour in a village in Bokaro district.
When the woman and her husband complained to village elders, one of them suggested that the husband rape either the sister or daughter of the alleged molester as a punishment for him.
“They took her to the jungle and raped her,” the mother of the victim told CNN-IBN news channel. “All the villagers came here, stood by and didn't do anything. We were crying, begging for help, but still nobody did anything.”
Police spokesman Gupta said the husband had been arrested for the alleged rape in daylight on Monday, along with the village leader for ordering the crime.
The brother has also been detained for the original alleged attempt to molest the husband's wife.
India is newly sensitised to sexual violence after the 2012 fatal gang-rape of a student on a moving bus in New Delhi which led to a public outcry and new tougher laws to deter rapists.
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.
The girl belonged to the Gulgulia community, near the bottom of India's rigid caste system whose members are often beggars.
“It is a barbaric incident that took place. We will not spare the accused for it,” Jharkhand chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty told reporters.