Protesters rally against Modi during May visit, as rape cases rock India
Demonstrators waved placards adorned with the faces of victims and rallied outside parliament and Downing Street, where Modi is set to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May. Protesters held signs reading "Modi go home" and "We stand against Modi's agenda of hate and greed.”
The protest was instigated after two particularly brutal rapes were reported in India. In the unconnected cases, police officers and a politician are respectively under investigation. The incidents have led to widespread protests across India.
An eight-year-old Muslim girl from the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir was kidnapped, drugged and raped repeatedly at a Hindu temple, during an ordeal that lasted several days and culminated in her murder.
Six men – two of whom are police officers – have appeared in court over the attack. Another two officers are facing charges of attempting to destroy evidence. A violent protest in defense of the accused, organized by the right-wing group the ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’ broke out. The demonstrations involved several of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers.
The other case saw a state lawmaker from BJP accused of raping a teenager. No action had been taken against the politician until the female victim threatened to set herself of fire earlier this month. The victim’s father died soon afterwards as a result of injuries he sustained while he was in police custody.
India has seen a huge increase in the number of recorded rapes, with 2016’s figures marking a 60 percent increase from the level in 2012. Some 40 percent of India’s rape victims are children.
Following the outrage, Modi has vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice, regardless of who they are.
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