India: Woman gang-raped on orders of 'kangaroo court'
Police in India's West Bengal have held 13 people in connection with a gang rape of a woman allegedly on orders of village elders who objected to her relationship with a man.
The 20-year-old woman has been admitted to a hospital in a critical condition.
Unofficial courts in India's villages often sanction killings of couples deemed to have violated local codes.
Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.
The government tightened laws on sexual violence last year after widespread protests following the attack.
But violence and discrimination against women remain deeply entrenched in India's staunchly patriarchal society.
Police said the latest incident on Monday night was prompted by the relationship between a tribal woman and a non-tribal man belonging to an adjoining village in Birbhum district.
'Crime of falling in love'
"The relationship was going on for almost five years. When the man visited the woman's home on Monday with the proposal of marriage, villagers spotted him and organised a kangaroo court. During the 'proceedings' both the couple were made to sit with hands tied," Birbhum police chief C Sudhakar told the BBC.
He said the headman of the woman's village fined the couple 25,000 ($400; £240) rupees for "the crime of falling in love".
The man paid up, but the woman's family were unable to pay, police said.
The headman, who is a distant relative of the woman, then allegedly ordered the rape, Mr Sudhakar said.
"Her family could not pay, so go enjoy the girl and have fun," the headman reportedly told villagers, according to a complaint filed by the woman's family.
Police have arrested 13 men, including the headman, in connection with the incident.
Although the incident took place on Monday night, the family of the woman gathered courage to go to the police on Wednesday afternoon. The woman was admitted to a hospital only on Wednesday night.
In 2010, village elders in Birbhum had ordered at least three tribal women to strip and walk naked in front of large crowds in the Indian state of West Bengal, police say.
The women were being punished for "having close relations" with men from other communities.
Correspondents say rape is a common occurrence in India with many cases going unreported.
Although India has tightened its anti-rape laws and society is more openly discussing cases of violence against women, women across India still live with the daily fear of sexual assault and victims still often have to deal with police apathy.