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Indian Kangaroo Court 'Ordered Gang Rape Of Woman As Punishment For Unauthorised Relationship'

23/01/2014 16:27 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:59 GMT

An Indian woman has been gang raped in public by as many as 13 men on the orders of tribal elders as punishment for an “unauthorised” relationship, local police say.

The attack occurred in Birbhum district, west Bengal on Tuesday and the woman is in a critical condition in Suri Sadar Hospital.

A kangaroo court known as a "salishi sabha" decided upon the punishment last Sunday, the Times of India reports.

india gang rape

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It explains: “The tribal heads had found that the sin of the 20-year-old can only be undone if she gets raped.”

It adds the punishment was dealt after her family was unable to pay the Rs25,000 fine it issued.

“According to the woman, the salishi sabha summoned her and her beloved. After her family said they could not pay the fine, the salishi sabha allegedly ordered the mass rape on Tuesday,” Birbhum superintendent of police C Sudhakar told The Hindustan Times.

All the 13 accused of taking part were taken into custody on Thursday, Reuters reports.

Women's rights were sent to the top of India's social agenda following the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim in 2012.

Four men found guilty of her death were sentenced to death in September.