Three Indian men have appeared in court after the gang rape of a Spanish tourist on a motorbike trip with her husband, with police hunting four other suspects, reports have said.

The attack took place on Friday night in eastern India in Jharkhand state’s Dumka district, where the couple were camping.

A total of seven men are accused of carrying out the brutal assault.

“We have formed a team to hunt the remaining suspects,” senior local police officer Pitamber Singh Kherwar told AFP.

On Sunday, three accused were seen being escorted into court with sacks on their heads by police officers holding ropes tied around their waists. The three were later remanded in custody.

The Spanish woman and her husband were also in court.

“We have to ensure strict punishment,” Kherwar said, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported Monday.

Kherwar said a special team including forensic officers had been formed to scour the scene of the attack, while another team was hunting more suspects.

“They are constantly raiding places,” Kherwar said in PTI’s report. “We will soon arrest the remaining accused.” An average of nearly 90 rapes a day were reported in India in 2022, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau.

However, large numbers go unreported due to prevailing stigmas around victims and a lack of faith in police investigations.

Convictions remain rare, with cases getting stuck for years in India’s clogged-up criminal justice system.

The notorious gang rape and murder of an Indian student made global headlines in 2012.

Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, was raped, assaulted and left for dead by five men and a teenager on a bus in New Delhi in December that year.

The horrific crime shone an international spotlight on India’s high levels of sexual violence and sparked weeks of protests, and eventually a change in the law to introduce the death penalty for rape.

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