Police clash with protesters after cremating gang rape victim’s body ‘without permission’

The 20-year-old woman died from her injuries at a hospital in Delhi two weeks after she was brutally attacked. Family members say they were denied the chance to say goodbye to her by officials

The family of a woman who died after being allegedly gang raped have claimed that police officials have cremated her body without permission.

The victim’s brother said the cremation was carried out late at night against the wishes of her family, who had wanted to perform their own funeral rites. Local officials deny this.

A journalist who watched the cremation told BBC News that the police kept her family and media away from the funeral pyre.

Police have imposed emergency laws on the village in Uttar Pradesh state after clashes between protesters and police broke out following her cremation.

Journalist Abhishek Mathur told the BBC that he had seen police beat up members of the girl’s family as they tried to see her body, saying even women family members were hit.

Another witness said police had wielded batons during the clashes.

Twenty-five people were arrested in connection with the unrest, according to a police information report seen by Reuters.

The woman had been attacked in Hathras, India, two weeks ago and died from her injuries on Tuesday morning at a hospital in Delhi.

She had been cutting grass near her home when she was grabbed by four men, authorities say.

The gang allegedly dragged her into a field and brutally attacked her, leaving her with multiple fractures to her neck and paralysed.

Four people have been arrested in connection to the crime.

The victim’s brother said it took 10 days for officers to make any arrests following the rape.

“She was left for dead,” the brother told BBC Hindi. “She fought for her life for 14 days.”

Family members of the woman told the Indian Express newspaper that the accused had a history of harassing Dalits in their area.

Rape and sexual violence have been under the spotlight in India since a horrific attack in Delhi in 2012 in which a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was brutally gang-raped and tortured on a bus.

The attack led to huge protests and changes to the country’s rape laws, but sadly instances of crimes against women and girls remain common.