Woman in India gang-raped, assaulted with iron bar

Kolkata - Indian police said Wednesday they have arrested two men over the gang rape of a mentally ill woman in West Bengal state who required surgery after enduring the violent assault.

The 27-year-old woman remains in a critical condition after being abducted Saturday evening from a carnival and taken to a field where she was assaulted with an iron bar.

She was found naked and bloodied the next day and rushed to hospital where she underwent emergency surgery.

"Two men, aged 50 and 54, were arrested on Tuesday," Anju Sharma, a West Bengal police director general, told AFP.

A local court ordered they be held in police custody, Sharma said.

The brutality of the crime has generated shock even in a country where violent sexual assaults remain persistently high.

Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal chief minister, visited the woman, who hails from an ethnic tribal group, in hospital and extended government support for her medical bills.

The attack echoed the fatal gang rape of Delhi student who died after being assaulted with a metal rod in 2012.

The horrific nature of that crime drew global attention and unleashed seething public anger in India about rampant sexual violence against women.

It led to an overhaul of India's rape laws but high numbers of assaults persist.

Nearly 40,000 rape cases are reported every year, according to latest official figures.

Campaigners say the real number is much higher, with victims wary of how their complaints will be dealt with or the social stigma attached to sex crimes.