Indian police hunt for suspects after tourist gang raped

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5 March 2024

This article includes accounts of rape and physical assault.

Three Indian men have appeared in court for the gang rape of a Brazilian-Spanish tourist who was on a motorcycle tour of India with her husband. Seven men are accused of carrying out the brutal attack. Police are hunting for four other suspects, reports said on Monday.

“We have formed a team to hunt the remaining suspects,” senior local police officer Pitamber Singh Kherwar said. “We have to ensure strict punishment.”

What do we know about the attack?

The rape took place on Friday night in the Dumka district of the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, where the couple, the 28-year-old vlogger and her 64-year-old husband, had set up camp. The two have been traveling the world on their motorcycles for several years.

Police found the couple, who are Spanish citizens, around 11 p.m. local time on Friday on a roadside, looking like they had suffered a beating, Kherwar said. Police took the couple to a hospital, where medical tests confirmed the rape. 

In a now-deleted video on Instagram, the couple said they were beaten and the woman was raped by seven men. The two are experienced travelers who have been visiting various parts of the world for several years, riding their motorcycles and sharing their experiences with more than 240,000 followers.

The couple told Spanish television station Antena 3 that the men repeatedly beat the husband and raped the wife. The two said they had camped out because they could not find hotels nearby.

“They raped me, they took turns while some watched, and they stayed like that for about two hours,” the woman, who has joint Brazilian-Spanish nationality, said in the interview.

India’s rape epidemic

Officials say an average of 86 women and girls are raped every day in India, the world’s most populous nation of 1.4 billion. Some victims never report the crime to the police.

Women’s rights activists blame India’s patriarchal society. They also accuse the police and judicial system of not taking victims of sexual violence seriously enough. Cases remain unsolved for years, and convictions are rare.