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Five activist women were gang-raped in Jharkhand state, India

Five women working for a charity in remote eastern India were abducted and gang-raped by a half of dozen armed men after they were performing a play to raise awareness about human trafficking in the largely tribal Khunti district of Jharkhand state.

This is the latest high-profile sexual assault in India. The women worked for the non-governmental organisation Asha Kiran which is supported by a local Christian missionary group. Khunti is also a hotbed of Maoists, armed guerrillas who have been waging a decades-long insurgency mainly for land rights. „We are trying to identify the criminals. Our probe is ongoing," Ashwini Kumar Sinha, superintendent of police in Khunti said to media. „Nine men and women were abducted. Five women were raped while the men were beaten," he added. Initial investigation has found that the people behind 'Pathalgarhi' (a practice in which villagers inscribe various tenets on huge stone slabs and ban outsiders in their area), are behind the incident.

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Attackers filmed the assault and used the video to blackmail the women not to go to the police. Later, police said that all suspects have been identified. The National Women's Commission on Friday ordered state police to provide them with a report about the gang rapes.The number of sex attacks in the country has grown with some 39,000 rape cases reported nationally in 2016. Three teenagers were raped and burnt alive in separate incidents last month.

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