The alleged gang-rape of a woman in a moving vehicle in India’s northeastern state of Assam has shocked and outraged people, leading to protests and rallies.

The incident, remarkably similar to the December 16 gang rape of a physiotherapy student in New Delhi last year, which caused a national uproar, occurred in Boginadi town in Lakhimpur district, some 360km from the state capital of Guwahati last Friday.

Reacting to the protests, the state government has ordered a crack special investigation team to investigate the alleged rape.

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The woman was thrown out of a three-wheeler autorickshaw, and died a day later in the hospital.

Since then, protests have been growing in the state with activists of the All-Assam Students Union and women’s rights organisations protesting in front of the local police station.

A youth organisation, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), has staged candlelight rallies in the district, according to media reports.

Brutal assault

The reports said there were three men in the vehicle when the incident occurred.

They allegedly not only raped the woman, but beat her up with an iron rod before throwing her out of the moving vehicle, according to the reports. One man has been taken into custody.

Reports quoting a top police official said they were waiting for the autopsy report. At the same time, they were also investigating whether it was a planned murder or an accident.

The woman was travelling in the auto to pick up her daughter from school. Reports quoting locals said they found her lying on the road with serious head injuries.

She was rushed to a hospital in Guwahati, but died a day later.

Three men were seen by locals fleeing from the spot, sparking suspicion she was raped.

The Assam State Commission for Women has directed the police to complete investigations as soon as possible.

The National Commission for Women has demanded that the accused be arrested without losing time.

A report quoting Commission member Nirmala Samant said it reminded them of the Delhi gang-rape case.

The Delhi case had led to a national uproar, leading to the formulation of strong federal laws to protect women from sexual crimes and extend severe punishment to the guilty.

Source: Al Jazeera