India’s ambassador to Switzerland Smita Purushottam has condemned an attack on a Swiss couple who were physically assaulted by a group of men in a northern Indian town when they refused to pose for pictures with them.
“We truly condemn the incident and the authorities are extending all their cooperation in finding the culprits,” Purushottam told swissinfo.ch.
According to reports published by the Indian newspaper Times of India, the couple was followed by a group of men on Sunday while walking near the railway station in the town of Fatehpur Sikri. The men took pictures of the couple with their mobile phones and tried to get close to the woman for “selfies”. When the couple protested and refused to accompany them to an unknown destination, they were showered with sticks and stones. No valuables were stolen.
The paper also mentioned that the man suffered head injuries and the woman fractured her hand. According to the Indian ambassador, a senior official from the external affairs ministry has visited the couple in hospital and visas for the parents of the Swiss man have been fast-tracked to enable them to visit him.
“People should rest assured that such incidents are not tolerated and not common; the perpetrators will be tried and appropriately sentenced. The highest authorities are looking into the matter and action will be taken,” said Purushottam.
The local police have arrested five suspects, including three minors. India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has demanded a report from the Uttar Pradesh state government concerning the incident.
In 2013, a Swiss tourist was gang raped while on a biking trip in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The woman and her husband were attacked by a group of men while camping in the countryside. Six of the accused were arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
According to the latest statistics (2015), over 46,000 Swiss tourists visited India of which over 45% were women. In total, India welcomed 8.8 million foreign tourists in 2016 and earned over $13 billion in foreign exchange through tourism.