Police in India’s eastern city of Kolkata have arrested several suspects for allegedly kidnapping and holding a young Japanese student for weeks while they repeatedly raped her.
The unidentified woman was abducted from a village near Bodh Gaya, one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites, located about 80 miles south of Patna, The Associated Press quotes police officer Akhilesh Singh as saying. Authorities believe she was kidnapped by an organized gang that targets single women tourists.
In Kolkata (a city formerly known as Calcutta), Police Commissioner Pailav Kanti Ghosh tells the BBC that two men, said to be brothers, posed as tourist guides as a ruse to approach the woman. They offered to show her Bodh Gaya, the place where Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment.
“One of the men spoke very fluent Japanese,” Ghosh tells the BBC. “They said: ‘We are guides and want to take you sight-seeing.’ ”
According to Ghosh, four other men joined in the kidnapping. They repeatedly raped the woman before turning her over to other gang members. Eventually she was able to escape her captors and reached the city of Varanasi, from where she traveled to Kolkata and reported ordeal to the Japanese consular officials there.
The AP says the woman was 22 and says that three suspects have been arrested in connection with the case. The BBC puts the woman’s age at 23 and says five men have been taken into custody. The BBC says she was abducted on Nov. 23 and managed to reach the Japanese consulate in Kolkata by Dec. 26. The AP says she was held for more than three weeks.
As the AP notes: “India has a long history of tolerance of sexual violence. But a series of high-profile rape cases have triggered a strong public outrage in recent years, leading to tough anti-rape laws.”