Indian police arrest two men in nun gangrape case

(Photo: . REUTERS / Danish Siddiqui)A protester holds a placard during a rally by hundreds of Christians against recent attacks on churches nationwide, in Mumbai February 9, 2015. Five churches in the Indian capital New Delhi have reported incidents of arson, vandalism and burglary. The latest was reported last week when an individual stole ceremonial items.

Indian police say they have arrested two suspects in connection with the brutal abuse of a 72-year-old nun who tried to stop robbers ransacking a convent school in Ranaghat nearly two weeks ago.

Authorities said they captured two suspects in separate arrests on March 25 coordinated with counterpart state police offices, NDTV reported. Initial reports identified the two suspects as Bangladeshis.

Mumbai police tracked down the first suspect, whom they identified as Mohammad Sikandar Shaikh. He was arrested at his friend's house in Nagpada, South Mumbai.

Later in the day, police in West Bengal captured Gopal Sarkar, a resident of Habra in North 24 Parganas, a town near the border of Bangladesh, according to the investigator handling the case.

"Gopal is originally a Bangladeshi who was staying in Habra town since 2002," said West Bengal police investigator Dilip Adak in an interview with The Indian Express newspaper.

Sarkar is believed to have coddled the gang members involved in the rape of the nun, he continued

He is said to have confessed to his captors that he was present during the break-in and the subsequent sexual assault at the convent on March 13. But investigators would not elaborate nor clarify the exact participation of Salim in the crime.

Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria said his counterparts in West Bengal had been on the trail of the suspect, and Mumbai's success in arresting Shaikh was dues to their close contact with partners from other stations.

"The West Bengal team had the lead, they shared the information with us and sought our assistance. The assistance was provided and the accused was arrested from the Nagpada area and has been taken away by the Bengal team," he said.

At least six men broke into the convent in Ranaghat in West Bengal on March 14, and vandalized the chapel. The nun tried to stop the bandits from taking away valuable materials, but the suspects overpowered the elderly woman.

The suspects raped the nun, who needed surgery to repair a broken hip as a result of the attack.

A security camera installed at the convent captured faces of some of the suspects.

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