Union Minister of Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma on Sunday termed the alleged gang-rape and extortion case of a 23-year-old Japanese tourist in Bihar’s Gaya district as a ‘national shame’.
“The incident is a national shame. Government will soon release helpline numbers for foreign tourists. List of dos and don’ts will also be issued to foreign nationals,” said Sharma.
The police have so far arrested five men in connection with this case.
The woman had filed a complaint through the Japanese consulate in Kolkata saying she had been staying in a budget hotel in the city in November when three local men who spoke Japanese befriended her and took her to the seaside resort of Digha in West Bengal.
The men, who knew Japanese language, first managed to persuade her to withdraw around $1,200 dollars in cash before travelling with her to the holy shrine of Bodh Gaya in the neighbouring state of Bihar.
There she was then handed over to two brothers who allegedly locked her in a secluded underground room and repeatedly raped her for nearly a month.
The two brothers, who were working as tourist guides, were arrested on Friday and taken to Kolkata where they appeared in court late Saturday. A magistrate ordered that they be remanded in custody until January 9 for an identification parade.
Kolkata joint police commissioner Pallab Kanti Ghosh said the other three men were being held on suspicion of extorting money from the victim and then handing her over to the alleged rapists.
“We have arrested three people who befriended the victim in Kolkata. They have been charged with common conspiracy and intention to kidnap and rape,” the commissioner added.
The case is the latest in a string of high-profile sex attacks that have highlighted the frightening levels of violence against women in India.
In 2012, millions of Indians took to the streets, after a medical student was gang-raped and killed in New Delhi, to demand official action to reduce the number of assaults on women.