Nepal arrests 7 over rape of Indian girl at festival

Nepal arrests 7 over rape of Indian girl at festival
The festival saw Hindu devotees slaughtering thousands of animals and birds in a ritual sacrifice. The victim was among the thousands attending the festival.

KATHMANDU - Nepal police have arrested seven men for allegedly gang-raping a teenage Indian girl visiting the Himalayan nation for a religious festival involving animal sacrifices, an official said Thursday.

The 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped after arriving in a remote village near the Indian border for the two-day festival during which 2.5 million worshippers sacrificed some 200,000 animals in a Hindu ritual.

The woman was dragged Monday night into a deserted building near the grounds of a temple in Bariyapur where the men attacked her, local police official Lokendra Malla said.

"When people outside heard her screams, they called the police who arrested the seven men and took her to a hospital," Malla told AFP.

The victim is recovering in a women's shelter, while the suspects -- all Nepalese men aged between 18 and 20 -- are in police custody.

Thousands of animals -- from buffaloes to rats -- are slaughtered during the Gadhimai festival, held every five years. The event went ahead last week despite protests by animal rights activists.

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