An Indian student was gang-raped on Wednesday in her hometown of Rohtak, north of Delhi — by the same five men accused of raping her in 2013.
The unnamed victim, who is 21, told Indian television that as she was leaving her college, the five put her inside a car, drugged her, and raped her while she was unconscious. She was left for dead in the bushes.
"They were the same five men. I was very afraid," the victim said. "They tried to strangulate me. They said they would kill my father and brother."
The family of the victim has said the rape was retaliation for their refusal to agree on a $75,000 out-of-court settlement, after the first rape occurred in 2013. Two of the accused are awaiting trial, but were out on bail.
"We had filed a case in the court for the arrest of the remaining three and re-arrest of the two out on bail," the victim's brother told the Hindustan Times. "We were getting constant threats from the accused to reach a compromise outside the court, but we remained firm. That's why they have attacked her again."
Social media users expressed their outrage over the weekend, after previous rapes in the same city over the past year.
According to several news reports, the family moved from the nearby town of Bhiwani, in the state of Haryana, where the victim was allegedly raped in 2013, to Rohkat, where the five men attacked the victim on Wednesday.
The superintendent of police in Rohtak said on Monday the police were questioning the two accused, according to the ANI news agency.
Rape, gender-based and domestic violence in India have been under an international spotlight in recent years, after a 23-year-old student was fatally gang-raped in Delhi in 2012.
That case sparked public outrage and led Indian authorities to adopt tougher anti-rape laws. A measure known as the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, which was passed in 2013, provided an extensive terminology for the act of rape. Under art. 376 of the law, gang-rape is punished with a minimum of 20 years of imprisonment. But India's law has been criticized for not making marital rape illegal — and sexual attacks actually rose in the year after its introduction.
Government statistics showed there were over 36,700 reported rapes in India in 2014, with 90 per cent of them committed by people known to the victims. The number of rapes showed a nine percent increase from 2013.
But the numbers could be much higher, as advocacy groups have reported that women are often deterred from reporting sexual violence, because of discrimination from police officials and authorities.