Six men arrested over gang-rape of Swiss tourist in India appear in court as police say woman must share blame for attack

Latest attack just three months after fatal gang-rape of woman in New Delhi

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The Independent Online

Six men accused of the gang-rape of a Swiss tourist who was cycling with her husband in India have appeared in court.

The suspects appeared in the magistrate's court in Madhya Pradesh state in central India with their faces covered with black cloth, police superintendent Chandra Shekhar Solanki said.

It was not clear how they pleaded in court, but during their arrest yesterday they confessed to the crime, police said. The men, who are poor farmers from nearby villages, also face additional charges of robbing the Swiss couple.

The 39-year-old woman claims she was attacked by a group of men on Friday night as she camped with her husband in a remote part of Datia district.

The Swiss couple told police that the woman had been raped by seven or eight men, but that it was dark and they could not be sure of the exact number.

The men beat up the husband, tied him to a tree before raping the woman, police said. They also stole the couple's mobile, laptop computer and 10,000 rupees. Police said they recovered the laptop and phone from one of the suspects.

The Swiss tourists were on a three-month holiday in India and had visited the temple town of Orchha. They were planning to cycle to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, about 130 miles away.

They set out from Orchha on Friday and pitched their tent in the forest near Jatia village when they were attacked by men armed with sticks, police said.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Madhya Pradesh police caused anger by suggesting that the Swiss woman and her husband were partly to blame for the attack. Inspector Avnesh Kumar Budholiya said the tourists had been careless in travelling to a remote part of the country they knew little about.

“No one stops there,” he said. “Why did they choose that place? They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They would have passed a police station on the way to the area they camped. They should have stopped and asked about places to sleep.”

The attack comes three months after the fatal gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus which sparked outrage over the treatment of women in Indian society.