The father of a 15-year-old Indian rape victim has been shot dead, allegedly by his daughter’s rapist.
Police told BBC Hindi that the accused is on the run. The shooting happened on Monday night.
The girl’s family says he had threatened them and asked them to withdraw the rape case they had lodged against him in August last year.
Rape victims in India often accuse police of failing to protect them or their families from reprisals.
The girl’s father was taken to hospital after the shooting, but he died the next day. The crime happened in Firozabad district in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
“He was constantly threatening us,” the girl’s uncle said. “One week ago, he threatened my brother, saying if he didn’t withdraw the case, he wouldn’t be alive. We complained to the police but the police ignored us.”
The girl’s family also says that the police had taken no action in the rape case. The case was registered months ago under India’s stringent child protection laws.
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Police superintendent Sachindra Patel said three officers had been suspended for negligence, and officers were deployed to search for the accused.
Rights activists say that police often don’t act swiftly enough, which puts victims and their families at risk – and that a prompt investigation could go a long way since rape is a non-bailable offence in India.
This is the third such instance in Uttar Pradesh in recent months where rape victims or their families have been attacked, allegedly by those they have accused.
In July, a woman was badly injured in a car crash that her family said had been caused by a former ruling party lawmaker who had raped her. While she survived, both her aunts, who had been travelling with her, died. The lawmaker, Kuldeep Sengar, has since been convicted for the rape. He is being investigated for his alleged role in the crash.
In December, a 23-year-old woman was set on fire when she was on her way to testify against her alleged rapists. She had 90% burns and died the next day after suffering cardiac arrest.
And in May 2018, a 16-year-old girl was burnt alive in Jharkhand state after her parents complained to village elders that she had been raped.
India is facing renewed public outrage over cases of violent sexual assaults in the country.