NEW DELHI: A 20 year old Dalit student was rushed to the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Rohtak, after she was reportedly gang raped by five youth who had raped her twice before in 2013. At the time of writing, the alleged attackers remain free, whilst the victim is in a state of shock with her family determined to fight for justice.

The victim had first reported being gang raped by her neighbour and four others in October 2013. Two of the accused were arrested, only to be released on bail last month.

The victim’s family states that since their release, the accused had been trailing the victim and her family. “For the last two years, we stayed almost in hiding. But I will not give up. My daughter is still in a state of shock and we just want her to get well soon. Over the last five days, she has repeatedly said she wants justice. She wants them hanged. We will settle for nothing less,” the 20-year-old’s mother told The Indian Express.

“On October 18, 2013, my daughter was gangraped by the five accused for the first time. One of them was a neighbour. The accused made videos of the act and threatened to release them online if she complained. Four days later, they threatened to make the videos public if she did not meet them to settle the matter. On October 22, she was again gangraped and this time she broke down in front of us,” the student’s mother said (as quoted in The Indian Express).

“Over the next six months, we were harassed by the accused, who belong to the upper-caste Jat community. They pressured us to settle the matter out of court and made offers of over Rs 50 lakh to withdraw the case but we stood our ground. However, due to social ostracisation and for fear of our lives, we had to shift out of our own house in Bhiwani and move to a rented accommodation in Rohtak,” said the mother.

“As time started healing her wounds, my daughter enrolled in college again last year. She aspired to appear for the civil service examinations, and took up her favourite subject, mathematics. On Wednesday, she had just finished her first year of BSc in mathematics honours and had gone to college to enrol for the second year. When she did not return home by lunch, we started getting worried and by evening we got a call from the police telling us they had found her,” said her mother.

The victim’s mother works as a tailor and her father weaves coir cots, with the family subsisting on very little.

According to the Indian Express, Rohtak SP Rakesh Arya said that a police team has been sent to Bhiwani to obtain records of the old case and do a ground check. “The alleged victim’s statement under section 164 CrPC before the magistrate has not been recorded yet as she is still not fit enough to do so. Two of the five accused have joined our investigation and prima facie it appears they were not in town on the day of the incident. Their call records were traced to Bhiwani that day and they have produced CCTV footage to back their claims,” Arya said.

Police sources say that the victim was found unconscious on Wednesday in some bushes at Sukhpura Chowkat about 630 PM. She had left her college at about 130 PM the same day. She was discovered by passersby, who notified the police.

The incident has led to an outcry, with Congress worked protesting at the hospital and raising slogans against the BJP government and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

The incident has made international headlines, with the BBC linking it to issues of violence against women and women’s safety in India. “The gang rape of the student in Rohtak, allegedly by the same men who raped her three years ago, is an example of how callously the authorities treat victims of rape. Questions are being asked about how the five men, who were accused of a serious crime like rape, were free to conduct another attack. There is also the question of why the victim and her family were not provided with any security when they said they had been threatened. Many are wondering if this barbaric attack will jolt the government into action in a country where, according to official statistics, a rape is recorded every 15 minutes,” an article by the BBC states.

This sentiment was echoed on Twitter.

(Photo: A protest against sexual violence and rape in India. New Delhi).