Police in India say they have arrested six men accused of raping a woman after abducting her on a passenger bus, weeks after a similar gang rape of a female student shocked the nation.
Authorities say the 29-year-old victim was the only passenger on the bus as she was travelling to her village in northern Punjab state late Friday.
According to the victim, the driver drove her to a desolate location, where he, the conductor and five friends took turns raping her before dropping her off at her village early Saturday.
Police arrested six suspects in the case after the woman filed a complaint Saturday. A police spokesman says the men have confessed to the crime.
Meanwhile, five of the six suspects accused of brutally raping a 23-year-old woman after luring her and her male friend on a bus in New Delhi last month are set to go to trial in a fast-track court. The sixth suspect is under 18 and will be tried separately in a juvenile court.
The expedited proceedings are in response to public outrage over the brutality of the attack. The defendants are accused of beating the couple with an iron rod and using the rod during the sexual assault of the woman.
The unidentified victim died of her severe internal injuries on December 29 in a Singapore hospital, where she had been taken for treatment.
The lawyer for three of the suspects says his clients will plead not guilty and that police used force to gain confessions from them.
M.L. Sharma spoke to reporters Thursday on the way to a closed-door hearing in New Delhi. He said police manipulated the evidence to make his clients appear guilty.
Two of the accused, in an effort to receive lighter sentences, have told the court that they want to become witnesses for the prosecution.
Indian authorities have charged the men with murder, rape, kidnapping and other charges. Officials say they will push for the death penalty, if the men are convicted.
The woman’s rape and death sparked outrage across the country. Protesters have called for tougher rape laws, major police reforms and a transformation in the way India treats women.
(Source: VOA. VOA News says “some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.”)