NEW DELHI (AFP) - A 20-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped on Christmas Eve in south India, media reports said on Friday, the latest in a string of sexual attacks reported in the country.
The reports of the latest assault came two days before India was due to mark the first anniversary of the death of a student who was gang-raped on a bus in an attack that shocked the nation.
The woman who was assaulted on Christmas Eve told police she was abducted by three men while sightseeing with friends in Karaikal, a port city in Puducherry, the Times of India newspaper and TV networks reported.
One of the men raped her at a secluded spot before freeing her, the Times said.
She called for help but then another group of seven men attacked her as she was being escorted to a safe place, the paper said.
Six of the men raped her, it added.
"One case has been reported. There are 15 accused (persons) and one victim," senior police officer Monika Bhardwaj told reporters.
Bhardwaj said three of the accused "are absconding" while the rest have been caught.
The Times of India said police had registered preliminary cases of abduction, gang-rape and criminal intimidation against the accused.
The woman has been admitted to hospital where police will record her statement, the CNN-IBN TV network reported.
The issue of sex crimes in India has received widespread attention since last year's gang rape of the 23-year-old student in New Delhi.
The physiotherapy student died on December 29, nearly two weeks after being attacked by a gang of six men on a moving bus as she returned home from the cinema with a male companion.
The brutality of the attack and her subsequent death shook the country and shone a global spotlight on India's widespread mistreatment of women.
The attack also prompted the Indian parliament to pass tougher laws against rapists and other sex-crime offenders.
But a string of other sex attacks, including against foreign tourists and a photojournalist in Mumbai this year, has highlighted the continuing dangers facing women in India.