Indian police have made arrests in connection with the alleged kidnapping and gang-rape of a Japanese woman. This is the latest case of sexual violence in India to make international headlines in recent years.
At least two suspects were in custody on Saturday, accused of holding a Japanese woman hostage in Bihar state for a period of weeks and repeatedly gang raping her.
An unnamed police officer told the AFP news agency that the 22-year-old woman had been held at a location near Bodh Gaya, Buddhism's holiest site, but had managed to escape on December 26. She then managed to reach the city of Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, where she contacted the Japanese consulate and filed a complaint with police.
According to the woman's account of events, a Kolkata-based tour guide had taken her to Bodh Gaya, where they were joined by four other men who, along with the first man, confined and raped her.
As many as five arrests made
AFP cited a local police official who said the two suspects taken into custody were brothers, aged 32 and 25.
However, the Associated Press said a total of three suspects had been arrested, while DPA reported that all five suspects were in custody. It said that just two of the men had been charged with rape, while the other three stood accused of a number of offenses, including criminal conspiracy and kidnapping.
India has faced international scrutiny over a number of high-profile cases of sexual violence against women. The first to spark outrage both at home and abroad was the fatal gang rape of a medical student in New Delhi in 2012.
The government responded by doubling prison terms for convicted rapists to 20 years, while also making voyeurism and the trafficking or stalking of women criminal offenses. The legislation also made it mandatory for police to open an investigation whenever they receive a complaint.
Despite this, several attacks on foreign women have been reported over the past couple of years, including a Danish woman who was gang raped at knife point in New Delhi last January, and a Swiss woman who was robbed and gang raped while on a cycling holiday in Madhya Pradesh in 2013.
pfd/nm (AFP, AP, dpa)