First arrests made in Indian nun rape case

The man with his face covered was arrested in connection with the attack on the Convent in West Bengal, India.Reuters

Indian police have arrested two men in connection with the rape of an elderly nun in the state of West Bengal which happened almost two weeks ago.

Six intruders were captured on CCTV as they broke into the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in the early hours of March 14, vandalising the chapel and stealing around £7,500.

They reportedly tied up and gagged a security guard, before entering a room in which two nuns were sleeping. The 74-year-old nun tried to stop them attacking her fellow sister, and was then raped herself.

Eight men were detained for questioning but no arrests were made, provoking frustration from Indian politicians.

Images of the burglars were released by the police with a reward of 100,000 rupees (£1,075) for any information.

One of the two men arrested, Mohammad Salim Sheikh, was caught in Mumbai and has been taken to Kolkata.

Senior police official Rajeev Kumar told the BBC that on the information provided by Sheik, they had arrested a second man, Gopal Sarkar, who is reported to have given shelter to one of the attackers.

It is not clear whether the men arrested appeared in the CCTV footage.

Signs outside the Convent of Jesus and Mary School call for retribution following the attack on an elderly nun.Reuters

The attack caused outrage across the country, with Christians protesting the lack of protection for religious minorities under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. According to a report by the Evangelical Fellowship of India, there have been more than 600 violent attacks on Muslims and Christians since Modi came to power last May.

Modi condemned the attack on the nun and an attack on a church that happened the following day, and called for a report on the situation.

Last week Christian Solidarity Worldwide told Christian Today that there are fears that although incidents are reported to the police, they have often not been registered and properly investigated.

A CSW spokesperson expressed concern over the increase in low-level violent attacks against minorities, which seemed to be carried out with "a sense of impunity".