20:16 GMT22 February 2020
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    The woman was bathing in the Ganges River as part of a religious fast observed by Hindus. The victim was not only assaulted but was also filmed and the video went viral on social media.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — In a reprehensible act of violence against women in India, a 45-year-old woman who was bathing in the holy river of Ganga in the eastern state of Bihar was dragged out and raped by two men. Locals are agitated over the fact that the police swung into action only after the video caught the administration's attention.

    "The violence occurred on Monday. It took two days for the police to initiate action and that too when the video has gone viral and has come to the notice of the administration as a result of public outcry," Abhishek Anand, a local civil society leader, and theater personality told Sputnik. 

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    The two accused have been identified as Shivpujan Mahto and Vishal, according to the PTI.

    "It has been confirmed that the accused filmed the assault and later shared it on social media," the PTI quoted an unnamed police official.

    The video [WARNING, the footage is explicit and may offend sensibilities], has gone viral on the social media but was restrained for publication, shows Mahto approaching the woman as she takes a bath and then drags her out and assaults her. 

    In the viral video, the woman is heard pleading with the two men to release her saying that she was observing a fast for her children and to consider the sanctity of the river Ganga. She is heard saying that river Ganga is "mother." The two accused though do not yield to the cries of the lady. 

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    The video has been widely circulated on social media over the past two days while women rights organizations have called upon publications to refrain from publishing it. 

    "The culprits are already in police custody. The video circulation must be curbed to avoid further harassment of the victim. Such acts can only be averted if the police were proactive in making the ghats (flight of steps leading down to the river) of Ganga safe for people," Savitri Jha of Nari Gunjan organization in Patna told Sputnik.


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    Hindus, viral video, assault, crime, rape, India, Bihar
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