|A police officer at the site near Gwalior where the Swiss woman was gang-raped on Friday night. (AFP)
Bhopal, March 17: Madhya Pradesh police have arrested five men for Friday night’s gang rape of a Swiss tourist and claimed the accused have confessed to the crime.
The deputy inspector-general of police (Chambal Range), D.K. Arya, said the five accused had been arrested from the village of Jhadiya near which the assault took place.
“Five villagers have confessed to having gang-raped her in a small forest near village Jhadiya. We have recovered a laptop, Rs 10,000 in cash, a mobile charger and a few other articles (belonging to the victim and her husband) from them,” Arya said.
The victim, a teacher from Lausanne, and her husband were on a cycling expedition to Agra from the Madhya Pradesh heritage tourism site of Orcha in Tikamgarh district.
As night fell on Friday, they decided to camp at a forest site. The five accused, aged between 20 and 25, allegedly barged into their tent and raped the victim before her husband.
State home minister Uma Shankar Gupta regretted the “unfortunate incident” but sought to pin part of the blame on the Swiss couple.
“Many foreign tourists don’t follow the rules,” Gupta alleged. “The couple should have informed the local superintendent of police about their plans.”
Vishnu Kanjar, Ram Kanjar, Gaja Kanjar, Brijesh Kanjar and Rishi Kanjar are being held at the Civil Lines police station in Datia district. They have been charged with gang rape, causing hurt, and dacoity. If convicted, they can be awarded a life term.
The five men belong to the Kanjar tribe, a nomadic group listed under the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871. Although de-notified as a criminal tribe after Independence, they continue to carry a social stigma in parts of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Linus Von Castelmur, the Swiss ambassador to India, is in touch with the state government. The Swiss embassy has sought a “swift” investigation.
“The embassy is most distressed with the gang rape of a Swiss national in Madhya Pradesh,” an embassy statement said.
“The ambassador has been able to speak to the victim and her partner and has assured them of all possible support. Their health and treatment is the priority of the moment.”