Police arrested two suspects today in the gang rape of an elderly nun in a missionary school this month in a crime that refocused attention on the scourge of sexual violence in India despite tough anti-rape laws introduced two years ago. The suspects were arrested after a nationwide hunt; one was hiding in the western city of Mumbai and the second in West Bengal state, said a police officer. Police also are looking for other suspects who attacked the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in eastern India's West Bengal state on March 14, ransacked the chapel, destroyed religious items, and stole cash. The attackers tied the school's security guards with ropes and entered the nuns' room, where the women were sleeping.
They took the elderly nun to another room when she tried to block their way and raped her, police said. The nun, in her 70s, was hospitalized in serious condition. She has since recovered and left the hospital. Christian leaders say a series of attacks on churches since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Hindu government came to power in May has created a sense of fear in the community. Christians comprise 2% of India's more than 1.2 billion people. One of the suspects, Mohammad Salim Shaikh, denied the rape charge, but he acknowledged that he was part of the gang that attacked the school in Nadia district in West Bengal state.