A nun aged 75 has been gang-raped by a group of up to eight robbers in India in the latest attack to shock the country.
She is in a serious condition in hospital after confronting the gang of 12 men who broke into the Christian missionary school in eastern India, police said.
Officers are searching for the bandits who escaped with cash, a mobile phone, a laptop computer and a camera belonging to the school.
The attack was carried out by seven or eight robbers at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in West Bengal state’s Nadia district, investigators said.
Police Inspector General Anuj Sharma said: ‘A preliminary investigation has revealed that a nun at the school was gagged and gang-raped. Two people have so far been arrested.’
Indian media reported that the gang broke into the convent and tied up the security guard before going on the rampage. It is alleged that three other nuns were assault and suffered injury in the violent attack.
Furious local residents took to the streets in anger, shouting slogans demanding action and blocking off the main highway.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted her condemnation of what she called a ‘horrific attack’, promising ‘swift, strongest action’.
The incident came at a time of heightened sensitivity over women’s safety in India, which last week banned a documentary about the 2012 gang-rape of a student in Delhi that sparked mass protests.
Authorities said screening the documentary could have caused public disorder, but critics accused the government of being more concerned with the country’s reputation than the safety of its women.
The December 2012 gang-rape of a young physiotherapy student, who cannot be named, highlighted the frightening level of violence against women in the world’s second most populous country and triggered mass protests.
It led to a major reform of India’s rape laws, speeding up trials and increasing penalties, although many campaigners say little has changed for women on the ground.
Shocking footage also emerged this week of an angry mob stripping and slowly beating a man to death after he was accused of raping and murdering an 11-year-old girl.