India woman who tried to drown herself with family was allegedly raped by fishermen after washing ashore

Family had been evicted from home in Sri Aurobindo Ashram community

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The Independent Online

A woman who reportedly tried to drown herself with her parents and sisters was allegedly raped by fishermen who found her unconscious on the beach.

The woman and her family tried to kill themselves after they were evicted from their home in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram spiritual community in Pondicherry, India on 18 December, The Hindu reports.

Two of her sisters and her mother drowned, while the father and three of his daughters washed ashore unconscious but alive at different locations.

According to the woman, two fishermen allegedly assaulted her as she was lying unconscious on the beach. Two men were arrested in connection with the alleged attack on Monday morning.

Kalapet police had registered a case under Section 376 (gang rape) and were investigating, according to The Times of India.

Mr N Ravikumar, the Superintendent of Police, said the two suspects had admitted raping the girl.

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, which runs the ashram, described the incident as “heartbreaking” and said it will now help the surviving sisters find another home.

In an official statement, the Trust said: "The ashram has constantly attempted to resolve the issue with sisters, offered to find them a place outside the ashram or give financial support, for their stay, as fixed by the high court.

“Even today the ashram continues to extend support to help sisters find suitable place to stay in any government run accommodation.

"It is a moment of profound sadness for us and we reach out to everyone who feels the loss.”

The ashram was founded by 'the Mother' in 1926 and expects followers to abide by strict rules regarding sex, drugs and alcohol. Pondicherry is a popular tourist spot, with visitors coming from across the world to see the ashram.

The family were evicted from the ashram by police under a supreme court order after one of the sisters reportedly violated one of their rules.