Five men have confessed to gang-raping a Swiss woman as she camped with her husband in Madhya Pradesh, police said. The woman was on a biking holiday with her husband in Madhya Pradesh when she was attacked on Friday night while putting up a tent in a remote forested area.
Her husband was tied up as she was assaulted and the pair were also robbed, police said. Local officer MS Dhodee said five local men, illiterate small-scale farmers aged 20-25, had been arrested. A sixth suspect (19), was detained in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state and was being returned to the area.
Dhodee said they had recovered a laptop, some cash and a mobile phone stolen during the assault, which occurred as the couple were getting ready to spend the night ahead of a trip to the Taj Mahal in the town of Agra.
“They were passing by, noticed the couple putting up their tent and saw an opportunity to attack and rape the woman,” Dhodee said. “We found the laptop buried carefully under a pile of leaves, near some shrubs in the forest. The mobile phone was recovered from the home of the mother-in-law of one of the men,” he added.
The five arrested men face charges of rape and robbery. Thesixth suspect is expected to face the same charges. Their confessions to police will likely be inadmissible as evidence under law, which rarely allows court prosecutors to cite suchstatements since they are seen as unreliable and involuntary.
The alleged rapists live in a village near the scene of the assault, which took place about 70 kilometres from Gwalior. After the attack, the 39-year-old rape victim and her husband, a 30-year-old mechanic, stopped a motorcyclist who took them to the nearest police station. She underwent a medical examination at a local hospital before leaving for Delhi, police said.
The woman’s mother-in-law in Switzerland said that she had spoken to her son and the couple were recovering. “This morning he phoned me to say they are in New Delhi and that they are both alright,” she said in a phone interview from the family’s farm in central Switzerland.
UC Shadangi, another local police officer, said that his force was in touch with the Swiss embassy who declined to comment about the case. The couple arrived in Mumbai last month after visiting Iran and began a cycling holiday across India, making their way to Orchha, a popular tourist haunt in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, police said. The Swiss foreign ministry in Bern released a statement on Saturday expressing deep shock at the ‘tragic incident’.
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