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Woman set on fire in India after complaining of attempted assault

By Reuters

Two men accused of trying to molest a 20-year-old woman in northern India set her on fire two days later after she lodged a complaint with police, authorities and her family said.

Women in India have struggled to secure prosecution for assault in the face of widespread police indifference, rights activists say.

The woman was in a field near her home in the Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh state when the men, both neighbors and known to her family, accosted her and tried to drag her away, her brother Vinod Kumar told Reuters.

She bit their hands and managed to break free and escape, and her father filed a complaint with police same day, he said.

When no action resulted, the family lodged a second complaint.

“We waited for the police to come for inquiries the entire day but no one came,” Vinod said.

The next day, the two men returned to the field where she was working, doused her with kerosene and set her on fire, Regional police superintendent Prabhakar Chaudhary told Reuters.

She suffered burns to 40 percent of her body and was hospitalised.

Chaudhary said her suspected attackers were arrested and three policemen suspended for dereliction of duties.