Police in West Bengal and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Sunday detained five suspects in connection with the gangrape of a 71-year-old nun at a convent-cum-school in Nadia district, about 80km northeast of state capital Kolkata.
A day after the horrific incident that has sent a shock wave across the state and prompted chief minister Mamata Banerjee to order a CID probe into the incident, police are conducting raids at several places. However, no arrests have been made so far.
According to the CID and police, they are looking into various angles, including a threat received by school authorities and the recent suspension of a security guard.
"We have detained a number of persons and are presently questioning them. We believe that we will soon arrest the culprits. Five persons have been detained. They are residents of Ranaghat area in Nadia," said a police officer.
According to authorities, a gang of seven to eight dacoits broke into the convent in the early hours of Saturday. When missionaries tried to resist them, they tied up one person and raped the nun, who teaches at a school adjacent to the convent.
The gang also looted Rs 10-12 lakh after committing the crime.
The nun, who was taken to a government hospital in Nadia district, is said to be stable after a surgery.
Photographs of the suspects - captured in CCTV footage - have been sent to police stations across the state. Police have also announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh reward for any information on the culprits.
Bengal governor Kesari Nath Tripathi, meanwhile, appealed to people to cooperate with investigators. "The society and people should come forward and identify the culprits," he said.
A team of the state women's commission and some BJP leaders are scheduled to visit Ranaghat on Sunday amid an outburst of protests by residents.
In the face of the outrage, Bengal chief minister Banerjee said she could "sniff a political conspiracy in the incident" that might have been designed "to malign the state government".
"We strongly condemn the incident that took place at the Ranaghat convent. We have ordered a CID probe. The government will take strict steps against the culprit(s). CID will be examining all aspects to this horrific crime. Swift, strongest action to be taken," said a statement from the chief minister.
In February 2012, Banerjee had alleged that the complaint of the Park Street rape victim, who died on Thursday, was a plot to malign her government as the incident was "fabricated".
Describing the Nadia incident as an "attack on humanity", state urban development minister Firhad Hakim said that attempts were being made to inject religious fanaticism.
"The culprits have to be identified and arrested immediately and given exemplary punishment," he said.
Recently witnessed incidents of vandalism in churches, but this is worst : Dr Joseph Chinnayyan (Spox, Catholic Bishop Conference of India)— ANI (@ANI_news) March 15, 2015
The govt should give protection to minorities: Dr Joseph Chinnayyan on Nadia incident pic.twitter.com/8nzI8sTNZ5— ANI (@ANI_news) March 15, 2015