Police in east India say a nun in her 70s has been gang-raped by burglars who broke into the missionary school where she lived. The crime is the latest in a series of attacks highlighting sexual violence in the country.
The nun was taken to hospital in a serious condition after she was attacked by a group of men who forced their way into the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in the state of West Bengal early on Saturday, a police officer said.
The intruders allegedly tied the school's security guards up with ropes before entering the nuns' quarters, where a number of women were sleeping. According to police, when one of the nuns tried to stop the men, they took her into another room and raped her.
"A preliminary investigation has revealed that a nun at the school was gagged and gang-raped," police inspector general Anuj Sharma told news agency AFP.
The burglars made off with cash, a mobile phone, a lap top, and a camera belonging to the convent school, which is located some 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Kolkata.
Following the attack, a crowd of angry students and local residents blocked off a nearby highway, shouting slogans and demanding police bring the perpetrators to justice.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called the incident a "horrific attack," vowing "swift, strongest action."
The shocking level of violence against women in India has been in the spotlight ever since the brutal rape of a young physiotherapy student on a bus in Delhi in December 2012. The rape eventually resulted in her death and sparked an international outcry and mass street protests across the country. It also led to major reforms of India's rape laws, including harsher penalties for rapists.
Last week, the Indian government banned the broadcast of a documentary about the 2012 gang-rape, titled "India's Daughter," saying it could have caused public disorder.
nm/sb (AFP, AP)