NEW DELHI — A Swiss woman who was on a bicycle tour with her husband along central India's tourist trail was gang-raped by seven men, police said Saturday, highlighting again the issue of poor safety for women in the country's public places.
The incident served as a reminder that neither the national outcry against rape since the deadly assault on a student in New Delhi in December nor recent government efforts to impose a tough law against sexual harassment has reduced crimes against women. On the contrary, the capital witnessed 150 rapes in the first 45 days of this year.
Police in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh said the 39-year-old Swiss woman and her husband were traveling by bicycle to the city of Agra, site of the Taj Mahal, the renowned 17th century marble mausoleum.
"They had veered off the main road after sunset into the jungle and set up a tent to rest during the night," said R.K. Gurjar, the police station chief in Datia, the town where the incident occurred. Gurjar said seven men raped the woman, beat her husband with wooden sticks and stole the couple's money, cellphone and laptop. Police said they have detained 20 men for questioning.
Madhya Pradesh has the highest incidence of rapes in the country.