Foreign ministry ‘shocked’ by India rape

A number of recent high-profile rape cases have brought Indian women on to the streets to protest Keystone

The Swiss foreign ministry has said it is “profoundly shocked” after a Swiss tourist was gang-raped in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on Friday, calling it a “tragic incident”.

This content was published on March 16, 2013 - 15:25 and agencies

The woman and her husband, who were on a bicycle tour in the state, were attacked by a group of seven or eight men, according to a ministry statement issued on Saturday.

Swiss diplomats in India have “demanded that those responsible be quickly identified and brought before the courts,” the ministry said.

The embassy in New Dehli and the consulate in Mumbai are also providing support to the couple, whose names have not been released.

Thirteen men were detained and questioned in connection with the assault, which occurred Friday night as the couple camped out in a forest after bicycling from the temple town of Orchha, local police officer R.K. Gurjar said.

According to reports, the couple were headed to the tourist destination of Agra, home to the iconic Taj Mahal monument, when they stopped to camp.

The men beat the couple and gang-raped the woman said Gurjar. They also stole the couple's mobile phone, a laptop computer and 10,000 rupees (CHF175).

The woman was taken to hospital in the nearby city of Gwalior. On Sunday, the Swiss foreign ministry confirmed the couple were at the embassy in New Dehli.

Over the weekend, police detained at least 13 men and questioned them in connection with the attack. Six of the men were released after questioning. 

On Sunday, the local police said it had arrested five men from a village close to the attack site who had confessed to the attack. Another man was still being sought.

Most of the effects stolen from the couple were also recovered.

The attack on Friday night comes three months after a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was gang-raped and beaten in New Dehli in a moving bus and thrown bleeding on to the street in a case that sparked outrage in the country. She died later in hospital in Singapore.

The crime horrified Indians and set off nationwide protests about India's treatment of women and spurred the government to hurry through a new package of laws to protect them.

One woman is raped every 20 minutes according to India's National Crime Records Bureau. But police estimate only four out of ten rapes are reported, largely due to victims' fear of being shamed by their families and communities.

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