PATNA, India — Police arrested four people for allegedly gang-raping a woman and her 14-year-old daughter after tying the woman’s husband to a tree at gunpoint in eastern India, a police officer said Friday.
Crimes against women have been rising in India despite a toughening of laws. India has been shaken by a series of sexual assaults since 2012, when a student was gang-raped and murdered on a moving New Delhi bus.
The family was riding a motorbike to their village Wednesday night when armed suspects stopped them on a deserted stretch near Gaya, a town in Bihar state, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
The four were arrested Thursday and Friday, he said. Police were still looking for two suspects who fled after the crime.
While the government has passed a series of laws increasing punishment for rape of an adult to 20 years in prison, high-profile brutal assaults continue.
Responding to widespread outrage over the recent rape and killings of young girls and other attacks on children, India’s government in April approved the death penalty for people convicted of raping children under age 12.
The government also enacted laws doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalizing voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women. Indian lawmakers also voted to lower to 16 from 18 the age at which a person can be tried as an adult for heinous crimes.