Three arrested for kidnap and rape of Japanese scholar

The woman had been on a Buddhist pilgrimage

The woman had been on a Buddhist pilgrimage

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Police have arrested three men for allegedly gang raping a 22-year-old Japanese research scholar near a Buddhist pilgrimage centre in eastern India.

Police were last night looking for two more suspects who also allegedly kept the Japanese woman as a hostage for nearly three weeks in a village near Bodh Gaya – a town nearly 80 miles south of Patna, the capital of Bihar state – police officer Akhilesh Singh said.

She managed to escape from their captivity on 26 December and reached Kolkata – formerly known as Calcutta – where she was based and where she filed a police complaint.

She had been studying life in rural India for some time, Mr Singh said.

A Kolkata-based tourist guide had taken the Japanese woman to Bodh Gaya to show her the Buddhist pilgrimage centre where Gautam Buddha is said to have obtained enlightenment under a tree.

He was joined by four others in keeping her in captivity and raping her, Mr Singh said.

Two of the arrests were made in Bodh Gaya yesterday and one earlier this week in Kolkata.

India has a long history of tolerance of sexual violence.

But a series of high-profile rape cases has triggered a strong sense of public outrage in recent years, leading to tough anti-rape laws.

India has doubled prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalised voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women.

The law also makes it a crime for officers to refuse to open cases when complaints have been made.

The latest case comes after a 14-year-old girl accused two police officers of raping her. Police were searching for the men yesterday in the Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh.

In that same area, two teenage cousins were found hanging in May last year, a case that led to massive protests.

Police originally accepted a report of rape but later stated that they had committed suicide and had not been gang-raped and murdered.

Last month, a 26-year-old Delhi woman said a taxi driver from the web-based booking firm Uber had raped her.

In December 2012, a fatal gang rape of a woman on a moving bus in New Delhi by six men caused global outrage and was a key driver in the new laws.

The 23-year-old student was repeatedly gang-raped, sexually assaulted with an iron rod and thrown naked from the bus. She died from her injuries two weeks later.

Four men were later sentenced to death for her rape and murder.

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