03/01/2015 09:24 GMT | Updated 03/01/2015 09:59 GMT

Japanese Woman 'Kidnapped By Indian Gang And Raped For Weeks'

Police arrested three Indians after the brutal gang raping of a 22-year-old Japanese research scholar near a Buddhist pilgrimage centre in eastern India.

Police were looking for two more suspects who also allegedly kept the Japanese woman as a hostage for nearly three weeks in a village near Bodh Gaya, Bihar state, police officer Akhilesh Singh said.

She managed to escape from their captivity on Boxing Day and reached Calcutta, where she was based and filed a police complaint. She has been studying life in rural India for some time, Singh said.

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A solidarity march for victims of gang rape in India (file photo)

A Calcutta-based guide is believed had taken the Japanese woman to Bodh Gaya, where there is a Buddhist pilgrimage centre in the area where Gautam Buddha is said to have obtained enlightenment under a tree.

She was held there by gang members for several weeks and repeatedly raped, police officer Singh said.

Pallav Kanti Ghosh, a Calcutta police commissioner, told BBC Hindi that the woman had been approached by two brothers as she checked into a hotel at the city, with one of the men "speaking very fluent Japanese".

According to Ghosh, the woman was raped after she was first taken to a beach resort in West Bengal state, and robbed. Later she was taken to Bodh Gaya, and "handed over to other gang members," Mr Ghosh said.

Two of the arrests were made from the area on Friday and one earlier this week in Calcutta, police said.

India has a long history of tolerance of sexual violence. But a series of high-profile rape cases have triggered a strong public outrage in recent years, leading to tough anti-rape laws.

India has doubled prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalised voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women.

The law also makes it a crime for officers to refuse to open cases when complaints are made.