The arrest of eight suspects in the gang rape and murder of a mentally ill woman has
focused Indian media attention on accusations of police inaction.
The mutilated body of the 28-year-old victim, who was originally from Nepal, was found
dumped in a field near a main road in Rohtak district, in the northern state of Haryana,
A post mortem showed signs of a brutal assault, according to The Times of India,
including multiple injuries to the victim’s lower body, and stones and blades in her
The eight suspects are all in their 20s and are from a village near Rohtak, police say.
The force’s initial response drew criticism, with a spokesman for the opposition Congress
party, Randeep Surjewala, accusing police of still being “clueless” five days after the
corpse’s discovery, Firstpost reports.
Police insist their response to the case was swift, but have promised to punish
any “lapses” on the part of officers.
The victim’s sister told The Indian Express that she had reporting her sibling missing
three days before the body was found, and that police ignored her pleas for an
“If this was a case of a woman from a higher strata of society, the police would have
acted immediately,” the unnamed woman – a housemaid – is quoted saying.
A commentary in Firstpost argues that this and similar cases are part of a
wider “disturbing pattern” of crimes against poorer women receiving inadequate
attention, not just from police, but wider society.
“Two days after her body was recovered, there is no hashtag trending on Twitter pledging
support,” the paper says. “Perhaps, most of us know too well that the Rohtak victim is
not ‘one of us’.”
Fears for secularism
Meanwhile, a Supreme Court judge has drawn media attention by publicly questioning
whether India will remain a secular state in future, in a case relating to religious influence
on the country’s civil law.
Justice Vikramjit Sen made the comments during a hearing on a petition for Christian
ecclesiastical – or canon – courts law to be given jurisdiction in civil and family matters.
“It is a secular country but I don’t know how long it will remain so,” the judge is quoted
saying by The Times of India.
The court said there was a need “to stamp religion out of civil matters”, and highlighted
honour killings as a possible danger posed by enshrining religious institutions in law,
according to The Hindu.
The petitioner had claimed the authorities’ non-recognition of canon-law divorces was
resulting in some Catholics being falsely accused of bigamy.
And finally, newspapers are reporting that the price of brooms has shot up in Delhi in
anticipation of a possible victory for the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in state
The cost of the cleaning implements has rocketed from around 50 rupees ($0.80) to over
100 rupees as a result of increased demand from activists of the AAP, which uses the
broom as its party symbol, DNA India reports.
“Last night, there were some brooms in my shop but now can you spot any?” one
shopkeeper tells the paper, with another predicting: “This time broom will sweep the