Police in Birbhum district of West Bengal state said Thursday that a girl has been gang-raped on the specific orders of a panchayat because she fell in love with a man from a different religion.
Police official C. Sudhakar said that 13 men have been arrested in connection with the case.
The state, ruled by Trinamool Congress' Mamata Banerjee, has seen a rash of crimes committed against women.
A rash of rapes and gang-rapes in India over the past year has sparked widespread outrage over chronic sexual violence in India and government failures to protect women.
The West Bengal case is particularly troubling because the alleged gang-rape apparently was sanctioned by a council made up of village elders. Such councils are not legally binding in India, but they are seen as the will of the local community. Those who flout the councils risk being ostracized.
The woman was in a hospital in the state's Birbhum district where doctors said her condition was serious.
All accused in WB gang-rape arrested
(PTI) All the 13 accused in the gang-rape of a tribal woman in Birbhum, including the village head who had allegedly given the orders for rape, have been arrested, West Bengal government said today.
"I have spoken to the Superintendent of Police and arrests have been made. All the 13 including the village head have been arrested," West Bengal Minister for Women and Child Shashi Panja said today.
She said all medical tests have been conducted today. The Minister said if the woman wishes to go back to her home security will be looked after. If she does not want to go, then we have identified a home for her, she said.
The woman was allegedly gang-raped at Labhpur in Birbhum district by the 13 persons on Tuesday night after the panchayat head gave orders for the rape since she had was in love with a man from another community.
Her family filed a complaint with the Labhpur police station that the incident happened following a meeting by her community leaders who decided to mete out the 'punishment' for her 'crime' of being in love