Bikram Singh Brahma suspended by Congress over Assam 'sex attack'

Women strip rape suspect Bikram Singh Brahma in Santipur, Assam, India, 3 January (video grab from Indian TV)
Image caption Women tore off the suspect's shirt

The ruling Congress party in India's Assam state has suspended a politician accused of rape after he was set upon and beaten by crowds in a village.

Bikram Singh Brahma was detained on Thursday after the victim's husband reported the alleged rape.

National TV showed footage of the politician being stripped of his shirt and slapped by women.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said his action was "condemnable" and he should be punished.

Pressure has grown for tougher action on rape since a woman was attacked in Delhi on 16 December and later died.

Five men have been charged with the kidnap, gang-rape and murder of the 23-year-old, whose name has not been released.

The government has set up a committee under a retired Supreme Court judge to recommend changes to the law on rape.

Stripped and slapped

Mr Brahma was beaten and accused by villagers in Chirang district, on the border with Bhutan.

"It is most condemnable. It is a most heinous crime. He should be punished... Police have already arrested him. The case should be disposed of at the earliest," CNN-IBN news channel quoted Mr Gogoi as saying.

Police said a man reported that his wife had been raped during the night by Mr Brahma.

The politician allegedly entered the woman's house and raped her at about 02:00 (20:30 GMT Wednesday), according to a police official.

Hearing screams, villagers ran to the house and captured the man, the official told Associated Press news agency.

Indian television channels broadcast footage of Mr Brahma surrounded by men and women in a street in daylight.

Some men kick and beat him with what appears to be a stick, before others restrain them. Then women move in, tearing off his shirt and slapping him in the face and on his arms.

Police arrived in the village at midday but the people holding Mr Brahma initially refused to hand him over, according to the Times of India newspaper.

They demanded officers record him confessing to the rape before he was taken away.

Police told the paper they had taken him into custody but had not arrested him, pending the registration of the case.

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