Another rape reported in India amid protests against brutal acts

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Supporters of India’s main opposition Congress party participate in a candle light vigil as they protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua near Jammu, and a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh state, in Ahmedabad, India April 13, 2018. REUTERS/Amit Dave

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Days after the arrest of a lawmaker from ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in connection with the rape of a teenager in Uttar Pradesh, another case of the brutal rape and murder of a girl was reported on Sunday in the state of Gujarat in the country’s west.

The Surat incident took place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, where he was Chief Minister from 2001 until he took national office in 2014.

The weekend’s protests, which echoed mass rallies against sexual violence in 2012, are piling pressure on Modi, who faces general elections due by May 2019, and he has promised to take action.

The United Nations is among the international bodies that condemned the two earlier incidents.

Women shout slogans during a protest organised by the Delhi Commission for Women against the rape of an eight-year-old girl, in Kathua, near Jammu and a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh state, in New Delhi, India April 13, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Saumya Khandelwal

“We are deeply concerned about the prevalence of gender-based violence, including sexual violence against women and girls, which we are witnessing in India,” Yuri Afanasiev, the U.N. resident coordinator in India, said in a statement last week.

Protest rallies are being staged all over India on Sunday, with Bollywood actors expected to participate.

India’s opposition Congress party held a midnight candle-lit vigil at India Gate in New Delhi, the site where thousands of people protested in 2012 against a brutal gang-rape in the capital.

India registered about 40,000 rape cases in 2016, up from 25,000 in 2012, government data show. Rights activists say thousands more go unreported.

Reporting by Suvashree Dey Choudhury; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Sam Holmes

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