Police arrest 7 in gang rape case in India's West Bengal state
Manik Banerjee, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, February 6, 2014 1:12PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 6, 2014 3:31PM EST
KOLKATA, India -- Police arrested seven people for allegedly raping a co-worker's wife and aunt in India's West Bengal state, a police officer said Thursday.
A rash of rapes in India has sparked widespread outrage over chronic sexual violence and government failures to protect women.
Police officer Sanjay Singh said the seven suspects were detained Wednesday within hours of the crime on Tuesday night in Mukti Rachak, a village 40 kilometres north of Kolkata.
The man's 28-year-old wife and 40-year-old aunt were also cut by blades, and were in stable condition in a local hospital, he said.
The suspects had a fight with their co-worker over a road building project, Singh said.
They later visited his home and committed the crime after plunging the village into darkness by switching off the electricity transformer, Singh said.
Last month, police said a West Bengal council of elders ordered the gang rape of a 20-year-old woman as punishment for a love affair with a Muslim man who was not from her tribe.
The fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012 triggered nationwide protests. The outrage spurred the government to adopt more stringent laws that doubled prison terms for rape to 20 years and criminalized voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women. Fast-track courts have been created for rape cases.
Four attackers in the New Delhi case were sentenced to death and a juvenile was sent to a reform centre for three years.