Indian police in Madhya Pradesh state say they have arrested six people in connection with the gang rape of a Swiss tourist.
The accused will be presented before a magistrate on Monday, a senior police official told Reuters news agency.
The woman was attacked as she camped with her husband in woodland near a village in Datia district on Friday.
The arrests come as cross-party talks on harsher punishments and tougher laws for rape begin in the capital, Delhi.
The latest attack comes three months after the gang rape of a 23-year-old female student on a bus in Delhi.
The rape and the student’s later death in hospital triggered widespread protests against the treatment of women in India and sparked demands for tougher laws.
In Friday’s incident, a group of men overpowered the Swiss woman’s husband before gang-raping her. The couple were also robbed of their valuables, including a laptop, which police say have been recovered.
Police spokesman Dilip Arya said the six men were aged 20-25 and belonged to a local tribe.
Twenty more people were being questioned in connection with the case, said local police official SM Afzal.
Madhya Pradesh police have arrested six people in connection with the gang rape of a Swiss tourist
The woman and her husband have left Madhya Pradesh and have reached the Swiss embassy in Delhi, reports say.“A decision regarding the next steps… in the interest of the two concerned Swiss citizens will be made with them in due course,” a spokesman for the Swiss ministry for foreign affairs said in a statement quoted by Reuters news agency.
On Sunday, a senior police official denied media reports that the suspects had confessed to their involvement in the crime.
The victim, who is reported to be 39 years old, and her husband had been cycling from Orchha to Agra, to see the Taj Mahal, a distance of about 155 miles, when they decided to camp for the night in a forested area.
One report cited the victim’s husband as saying that the group of men had approached them at about 21:30. They then began beating him with wooden sticks before tying him up and assaulting his wife in front of him, he is reported to have said.
The assailants stole the couple’s valuables, including 10,000 rupees ($185) and a laptop computer, before fleeing into the woods.
India’s political parties are also taking part in previously scheduled meetings to discuss harsher punishment for rapists, including the death penalty. They will also consider lowering the age of consent for sex to 16.
Last month, the government introduced new rape laws in an ordinance.
A bill or bills with these laws must be tabled during the current session of parliament. If the bill is not passed, the ordinance will lapse.
A Swiss woman has been gang-raped in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, according to local police.
The woman was camping with her husband at a village in Datia district on Friday during a cycling trip when they were attacked by eight to 10 men.
The assailants overpowered the husband before gang-raping his wife.
More than 20 people have been detained in connection with the attack, which has led the Swiss embassy to demand a thorough investigation.
The Swiss embassy has asked for a thorough investigation.
The victim, who is reported to be 39 years old, has been admitted to hospital in Gwalior. She is conscious and has spoken to the authorities.
The tourists had been cycling from Orchha to Agra, a distance of about 155 miles, when they decided to camp overnight at a village.
A Swiss woman has been gang-raped in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh
One report cited the victim’s husband as saying that the group of men had approached them at about 21:30. They then began beating him with wooden sticks before tying him up and sexually assaulting his wife in front of him, he is reported to have added.The assailants stole the couple’s valuables, including 10,000 rupees ($185) and a laptop computer, before fleeing into the woods.
The incident comes three months after the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old female student on a bus in the capital, Delhi, which triggered widespread protests against the treatment of women in India.
On Monday, one of the suspects was found dead in prison. Police said Ram Singh hanged himself, but his family suspect he was murdered.
A Delhi court in India is beginning to hear evidence from witnesses in the case of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in December.
Five accused men are attending the special fast-track court. They deny charges of rape, murder and abduction.
If convicted, they could face the death penalty. A sixth suspect is to be tried by a juvenile court.
The assault outraged India and sparked a debate about treatment of women.
The first of 80 witnesses to be produced by the prosecution takes the stand in the Saket District Court on Tuesday.
All reporting of proceedings inside the courtroom has been banned and the judge has ordered lawyers not to speak to reporters.
A key witness in the case will be the victim’s male friend who was with her when she was attacked on a bus and thrown from the vehicle.
A Delhi court in India is beginning to hear evidence from witnesses in the case of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in December
The student died in a Singapore hospital on 29 December from her internal injuries.
She and her 28-year-old companion cannot be named for legal reasons. He arrived at the courthouse in a wheelchair, still unable to walk properly due to injuries suffered in the attack.
His father, who accompanied him into the court complex, told Agence France-Presse news agency: “My son will go to any lengths to ensure that the guilty are punished.”
The bus believed to have been used in the attack was driven into the court complex on Tuesday.
The five defendants facing trial on Tuesday are Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
They face 13 charges, including murder, gang-rape, kidnapping and destruction of evidence.
Prosecutors say they have extensive forensic evidence, supported by the suspects’ mobile-phone records and the testimony of the dying woman and her companion.
Defence lawyers are expected to argue that the forensic evidence has been fabricated and that the rush to prosecute has led to an unsafe trial.
The trial is being closely followed in India, where the case has led to massive protests about the treatment of women and how the police and legal system tackle sex crimes.
On Sunday, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee signed a new anti-rape law which has increased the minimum sentence for those convicted of gang-rape and allows for the death penalty to be used in extreme cases.
But women’s groups have come out against the new law, saying that marital rape and sexual assaults by Indian security forces in conflict zones should have been included.
An Indian commission set up to suggest reforms to country’s rape laws after last month’s Delhi gang rape of a student has called for faster trials.
The panel, led by former chief justice JS Verma, also called for longer sentences but not the death penalty.
India’s law minister said the report would get “government attention” soon.
The brutal assault on the 23-year-old student in Delhi in December shocked India and sparked a debate about the treatment of women.
Justice JS Verma said his three-member commission had received 80,000 responses from India and abroad on how to reform rape laws.
Among the recommendations of the report, submitted to the home ministry on Wednesday, were:
broadening of the definition of what constituted sexual assault
cases to be tried in specially designated courts, preferably by women judges
quicker trials and faster processing of appeals in cases of crimes against women
more accountability for the police
better implementation of laws and the need for a change in the mindset of law-enforcers
strong action against those found guilty of trafficking and against security forces convicted of sexual assault in conflict zones.
uniform national protocol for the treatment and medical examination of rape survivors
The panel also recommended that those found guilty of rape leading to death spend the rest of their life in prison, but it stopped short of calling for the death penalty, something which many in India had pushed for.
“What is needed to enforce laws is the sensitivity on the part of those who implement it,” he told a news conference after submitting the report to the home ministry in Delhi.
“The state’s role is not just punishing criminals but also to prevent crimes against women,” he said.
An Indian commission set up to suggest reforms to country’s rape laws after last month’s Delhi gang rape of a student has called for faster trials
Justice JS Verma said the authorities had failed in their duties to the public.
He said that despite the huge number of responses to the commission’s request for ideas, not a single Indian state police chief had sent recommendations.
The head of the panel also praised young people for going into the streets to protest about the status quo.
“Youth has taught us what we, the older generation, were not aware of. I was struck by the peaceful manner in which the protests were carried out… the youth rose to the occasion,” he said.
Justice Leila Seth, another member of the commission, said police “don’t take complaints of rape victims seriously”.
“There is institutional bias against the weaker sections of society,” she said.
The Verma committee also looked at marital rapes and physical, sexual and psychological violence in the family.
Justice JS Verma said he hoped that the report would be taken seriously by the government.
The student raped in December, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was attacked after boarding a bus in south Delhi with a male friend.
Police said the assailants beat both of them, and then raped the woman. She suffered massive internal injuries and died nearly two weeks later.
The incident led to nationwide protests against the treatment of women in India. Campaigners called for tougher rape laws and reforms to the police, who have been accused of often failing to file charges against attackers.
Earlier this week, the trial of five men held for the crime began at a specially convened fast-track court.
If convicted, the men could face the death penalty. A sixth suspect, who is thought to be 17, is expected to be tried by a juvenile court.
The government has said it will bring in stronger sexual assault laws and has established several committees to recommend changes.
It has also promised to fast-track future rape cases. Legal proceedings in India sometimes involve years of delays.
There are believed to be about 95,000 rape cases pending nationwide, according to Ranjana Kumari, a women’s activist.
Delhi case of five men charged with the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman has been moved to a fast-track court for trial.
Lawyers for the defendants say that the case will get under way on Monday.
A sixth suspect, who is thought to be 17, will be tried separately in a youth court if it is confirmed he is a minor.
The case has shocked India and sparked a debate about the treatment of women. If convicted, the men could face the death penalty.
In the wake of the public outcry and nationwide protests, the government promised a fast-track legal process for this and other rape cases.
It announced it was setting up six fast-track courts in Delhi to allow crimes against women to be dealt with swiftly. Legal proceedings in India sometimes involve years of delays.
The five accused have been named as Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
The lawyer for Ram Singh, said he would file a petition arguing for the case to be transferred out of Delhi, fearing that the proceedings might be prejudiced because of the intense media interest.
“We are sure we will not get justice in Delhi,” VK Ananad said.
Delhi case of five men charged with the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman has been moved to a fast-track court for trial
Last week another lawyer claimed that the men had been tortured and coerced into confessing they were guilty. Officials refused to comment on the allegations, citing legal restrictions.
The lawyers for two of the suspects have said they will plead not guilty. It is unclear how the three accused will plead. Prosecutors have said they have extensive forensic evidence.
The victim, a physiotherapy student who cannot be named in India for legal reasons, and a male friend were attacked on a bus in south Delhi on December 16. She died two weeks later in hospital in Singapore.
Campaigners are calling for tougher rape laws and reforms to the police, who – critics say – often fail to file charges against accused attackers.
The government has said that it will bring in stronger sexual assault laws and has established several committees to recommend changes in the law.
DNA tests have linked five men with the gang rape and murder from last month that has caused outrage in India, a court in Delhi has heard.
The pre-trial hearing was held at the District Court in the Saket area of the Indian capital.
The judge ordered the five to appear before her on Monday. A sixth suspect is expected to be tried as a juvenile.
The woman, 23, died last weekend. Her friend has been recalling the harrowing details of the attack on a bus.
The man, who has not been named, told Zee News how he and the victim had boarded the bus and paid a fare, before he was beaten unconscious by men on board, who then attacked her.
Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan told Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal that DNA tests confirmed by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory had shown that blood stains found on the clothing of all of the accused had matched the blood of the victim.
Rajiv Mohan also cited records from the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, where the woman died, which said death was caused by septicemia and multiple-organ failure.
The five accused, aged between 19 and 35, are charged with rape, abduction and murder, and could face the death penalty if convicted. They include the driver of the bus.
The prosecutor also said items robbed from the victim had been recovered from the accused.
The magistrate said: “[The suspects] will be produced in court on Monday.”
DNA tests have linked five men with the gang rape and murder from last month that has caused outrage in India, a court in Delhi has heard
A following hearing was set for January 10.
Protesters gathered outside the court in Saket, carrying a banner demanding justice for the victim.
The friend of the woman who died has given his first interview since the incident.
The man, who has not been named, told Zee News he and the rape victim had boarded the bus after a trip to the cinema and after failing to flag down an auto-rickshaw.
He said the bus had tinted windows, and that he believed the group of men had laid a trap for them.
“We tried to resist them. Even my friend fought with them, she tried to save me,” he said.
“She tried to dial the police control room number 100, but the accused snatched her mobile away.
“I tried to fight against the men but later I begged them again and again to leave her.”
He confirmed earlier reports that the assailants had thrown them off the bus and tried to run them over.
The friend said he had tried to get help from passers-by and motorists.
“They slowed down, looked at our naked bodies and left,” he said.
And he also criticized the authorities, accusing them of being slow to arrive, then arguing over jurisdiction, and eventually taking them to the wrong hospital.
“My friend was bleeding profusely. But instead of taking us to a nearby hospital, they [police] took us to a hospital that was far away,” he said.
Delhi Police on Saturday denied its officers were late in arriving. A statement said the first vehicle had arrived within four minutes of the distress call, left the scene with the victims within another three minutes and reached Safdarjung Hospital within another 24.
The case continues to put Indian life under a sharp magnifying glass, and for many people it is uncomfortable viewing.
Meanwhile, police have opened an investigation into whether Zee News broke broadcasting laws relating to disclosure of the victim’s identity.
The victim’s friend was not named but his face was shown.
Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told AFP news agency that a case had been filed against the broadcaster.
The case has caused a national outcry, and there have been frequent protests calling for greater protection for women.
Candlelit vigils have been held across India to mourn a student who has died after being gang-raped in Delhi.
Thousands of people gathered in the Indian capital to express their grief and demand justice for the 23-year-old victim, who died earlier on Saturday.
Six men arrested in connection with the December 16 attack have now been charged with murder.
The victim’s body is being flown back home from Singapore, where she had been taken for specialist treatment.
The rape triggered violent public protests over attitudes towards women in India.
Large areas of Delhi were sealed off and hundreds of armed police and riot troops deployed as news of the victim’s death spread.
During Saturday, large crowds people gathered at sites where public gatherings were allowed.
These included the city’s Jantar Mantar observatory, where people lit candles in the woman’s memory.
“We are aware that this is not the first case, nor will it be the last case of gang-rape in India, but it is clear that we will not tolerate sex crimes anymore,” Rana, a lawyer, told the AFP news agency.
The victim’s coffin, draped in a white flag, was taken to Singapore’s Changi airport to be flown home, accompanied by her parents who were at her bedside when she died.
Candlelit vigils have been held across India to mourn a student who has died after being gang-raped in Delhi
Over the past two weeks, the unnamed woman has became a symbol of the wider issue of how women are treated in India.
The Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore said the woman “passed away peacefully” early on Saturday.
Hospital chief executive Kelvin Loh said she had suffered severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain.
India’s Home Affairs minister, Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh, said he was “heartbroken” by her death.
“I can only assure the family that the government will take whatever steps are needed to ensure that her killers get the harshest punishment in the quickest of time,” he said.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was “very saddened” by the woman’s death, and that the angry public reaction was “perfectly understandable”.
He called on politicians and the public to set aside “narrow sectional interest” and work together to make India “a demonstrably better and safer place for women to live in”.
The woman – a medical student whose identity has not been released – and her friend had been to see a film when they boarded the bus in the Munirka area of Delhi, intending to travel to Dwarka in the south-west of the city.
Police said she was raped for nearly an hour, and both she and her companion were beaten with iron bars, then thrown out of the moving bus into the street.
The assault sparked angry protests about the general conditions for women in India, and about what is seen as an inadequate police response to rape allegations.
Officials have since announced a series of measures intended to make Delhi safer for women.
These include more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants, and the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains.
The government has also said that it will post the photos, names and addresses of convicted rapists on official websites to shame them.
It has set up two committees – one looking into speeding up trials of cases involving sexual assaults on women, and the other to examine the lapses that might have led to the incident in Delhi.
But the protesters say the government’s pledge to seek life sentences for the attackers is not enough – many are calling for the death penalty.