A high court judge has ordered the arrest and prosecution of members of a village council who sentenced a young woman to be gang-raped in public as punishment for alleged sexual misconduct. The woman, a married primary school teacher, was saved by her husband and a group of villagers who whisked her to safety. The gang-rape of Bhuvaneshwari Padhi, 27, was ordered on July 20 by elected councillors of Sawarikalan village in the Balaghat region of central Madhya Pradesh state. Witnesses said Ms Padhi was ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 rupees (HK$8,060) or be raped by five men. She fled from the village and petitioned the Jabalpur high court, which ordered the local administration to apprehend the culprits. Three men have been arrested and the police were combing the area for the other councillors. The news comes in the wake of growing international concern at the infliction of barbaric punishments by community councils in remote parts of India and Pakistan. In another horrifying case, also in Madhya Pradesh, a council of Hindu elders forced a 21-year-old married woman to clutch a red-hot iron rod for 15 minutes to prove that she had not committed adultery. She suffered third-degree burns trying to prove her innocence, but her husband threw her out of the house. In neighbouring Rajasthan, a man was arrested in July for having his wife raped by his cousin and nephew to get a divorce. The arrested husband filmed the rape and threatened to use it as evidence of his wife's sexual 'misconduct' if she did not divorce him. He confessed that he wanted to remarry. Yesterday, a policeman was arrested in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh for raping his 17-year-old daughter because she disobeyed him. In Ms Padhi's case, a TV channel reported that her 'trial', which lasted several hours, was witnessed by 8,000 people, including her students who were allegedly forced to testify against her. A crowd of thousands was also going to watch the rape. Ms Padhi escaped after the rape sentence was announced over the public address system. Her lawyer, Vivek Rusia, said that she was entitled to financial compensation as her constitutional rights had been violated. 'In rural areas of Madhya Pradesh, women accused of stealing or torturing children are often paraded naked but this is probably the first time that a woman was sentenced to be raped,' Mr Rusia said.