• Tuesday, April 16, 2024

India News

Indian police hunt more suspects in gang rape of foreign tourist

A foreign tourist on a motorbike trip with her husband was raped on Friday night in Dumka district of India’s Jharkhand state. (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Shajil KumarBy: Shajil Kumar

Three Indian men have appeared in court after the gang rape of a tourist with Brazilian-Spanish dual nationality, with police hunting four other suspects, reports said Monday.

The incident took place on Friday night in eastern India in Jharkhand state’s Dumka district, where the victim and her husband were camping. Her husband was also assaulted by the culprits.

The couple was in Dumka as part of their motorbike trip.

A total of seven men are accused of carrying out the brutal assault.

“We have formed a team to hunt the remaining suspects,” senior local police officer Pitamber Singh Kherwar told AFP.

On Sunday, three accused were seen being escorted into court with sacks on their heads by police officers holding ropes tied around their waists. The three were later remanded in custody.

The Spanish woman and her husband were also in court.

The couple, who identified themselves as Vicente and Fernanda to Spanish TV channel Antena 3, said in a video interview on Saturday that the men raped Fernanda and hit Vicente repeatedly.

The couple said they had camped out near the site where they were attacked because they could not find hotels nearby.

Fernanda has joint Brazilian-Spanish nationality.

“We have to ensure strict punishment,” Kherwar said, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported Monday.

Kherwar said a special team including forensic officers had been formed to scour the scene of the attack, while another team was hunting more suspects.

“They are constantly raiding places,” Kherwar said in PTI’s report. “We will soon arrest the remaining accused.”

The Spanish Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it was sending staff to the area and had been in touch with authorities, while its Brazilian counterpart said it had sought contact with the Brazilian citizen through its embassy in New Delhi and was available to give every assist applicable.

An average of nearly 90 rapes a day were reported in India in 2022, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau.

However, large numbers go unreported due to prevailing stigmas around victims and a lack of faith in police investigations.

Convictions remain rare, with cases getting stuck for years in India’s clogged-up criminal justice system.

The notorious gang rape and murder of an Indian student made global headlines in 2012.

Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, was raped, assaulted and left for dead by five men and a teenager on a bus in New Delhi in December that year.

The horrific crime shone an international spotlight on India’s high levels of sexual violence and sparked weeks of protests, and eventually a change in the law to introduce the death penalty for rape. (Agencies)

Related Stories