India: Mob of thousands kidnap, kill rape suspect

(Photo: Reuters)

A mob numbering in thousands broke into a prison, kidnapped, and killed a rape suspect in India on Friday.

The suspect, a 35-year-old Muslim man, was dragged from the prison on Thursday night, and beaten to death while naked in the streets of Nagaland.

The state's chief minister, TR Zeliang, said that prison guards could do nothing to stop the crowd of several thousands.

"Security personnel at the jail were overpowered by the mob," Zeliang reported.

Police called to the scene to restore order fired upon the crowd, killing one person and wounding several others. A curfew was installed to quell the chaos. District police chief Meren Jamir said that the situation was "still tense."

Reuters reported that most of Nagaland's citizens are Christian.

Accusations of police inaction against sex crimes are a common complaint in India. According to the Asian Centre for Human Rights, between 2001 and 2011 there was an average of over 4,800 child rape cases in India per year. Girls in low-caste communities are often targeted, and the cases overlooked.

Last year, State Home Minister KJ George said that he hoped to change that.

"We will soon set up fast-track courts cross the state to try all rape cases expeditiously to convict and punish the guilty," he announced. "We will also increase the number of women police force and provide additional vehicles to step up patrolling during beats".

In July, citizens of Bangalore, India protested after complaints of police inaction in the case of a six-year-old girl's rape.

Police initially reported that two suspects were being considered, but later arrested eight individuals. The parents and relatives of the school's students marched through Bangalore in protest of the incomplete investigation.

The over 4,000 demonstrators tore down the school's gates, and shouted at the school's staff. They also descended upon the city's police station, refusing to leave until Police Commissioner Raghavendra H. Auradkar assured them that the police were taking action.

The gang rape of a young woman on a Delhi bus in 2012 was a watershed moment in India and triggered protests across the country.  The status of women and sexual violence has once again come to the fore in India after a BBC documentary into the Delhi incident was banned by the Indian government.