A group of armed men kidnapped and raped five female activists in the Indian state of Jharkhand, local law enforcement services reported. All of the girls work for an NGO, striving to raise awareness about human trafficking in the remote Indian district of Khunti. Prior to the incident, the activists had staged a street performance, in an attempt to attract attention to the issue.
"After performing, they headed towards a local mission school," said a senior police official, Homkar, as quoted by BBC Hindi. "Around the same time, some armed people reached the school. They abducted five girls from their team and took them to a jungle and raped them. We have dedicated three teams of police to interrogate several people."
The country has alarming rates of sex-affiliated crimes: at least 40,000 rape cases were reported in 2016, which does not take into account those unreported due to a stigma attributed to rape and sexual assault.
In an attempt to fight these kinds of crimes, India's cabinet has adopted an executive order introducing the death penalty for rapists of children under the age of 12.