Swiss woman gang-raped in Madhya Pradesh, India

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Location of Datia district (black) within Madhya Pradesh (red), India.

Police say a Swiss national was gang-raped whilst on a camping holiday with her husband in the Datia district of Madhya Pradesh, India. Madhya Pradesh Police arrested five men yesterday in connection with the attack on the couple, which took place Friday evening.

A gang allegedly beat the woman and her husband, as well as stealing a laptop, a mobile phone, and about 10,000 (US$ 185) in cash. The woman, reportedly age 39, was taken to a nearby hospital in the city of Gwalior. Police said she has not suffered any major injuries and medical evidence confirmed rape.

The Madhya Pradesh Police recovered the stolen laptop and mobile phone. Deputy Inspector General D K Arya said, "We have arrested five persons who raped the Swiss woman and recovered her mobile and laptop". The accused are named as Baba Kanjar, Bhutha Kanjar, Rampro Kanjar, Gaza Kanjar and Vishnu Kanjar.Police superintendent Chandra Shekhar Solanki said the accused appeared in court with covered faces.

A local police official, S M Afzal, stated the attackers "tied up the man and raped the woman in his presence". Sub-divisional police officer ML Dhody said, "They were coming from Orchha on a bicycle and they decided to stay in a forest. A lot of tourists throng the area. They were beaten up by a few people who took away their laptops".

The Swiss ambassador to India, Linus von Castelmur, has spoken to the victim and promised all assistance. The embassy said: "The embassy is most distressed with the gang rape of a Swiss national in Madhya Pradesh. The ambassador has been able to speak to the victim and her partner and has assured them of all possible support. Their health and treatment is the priority of the moment."

Mamata Sharma, chair of the Indian National Commission for Women, said changes needed to be made in how rape cases are dealt with. She said, "I have said this for the past few days that the crime against women in Madhya Pradesh is increasing and the government should take stringent action to put an end to such incidents [...] The accused should be punished and we should see that what kind of image of India we are presenting to the outside world. The government should take a strict action”.

Last December, a gang-rape killed an Indian medical student, which led to mass protests across India for a change in attitudes towards rape and how it is dealt with.

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