Presidential bodyguards convicted of rape

NEWDELHI: An Indian court today convicted two members of the country’s presidential bodyguard of raping a teenage university student in the heart of the national capital six years ago.

The attack on the 17-year-old student sparked outrage across India

as it involved soldiers

belonging to an elite

unit at the presidential palace, a tourist highlight in New Delhi.

The two soldiers, members of the President’s Bodyguard, could be imprisoned for life.

The New Delhi court also convicted two other presidential bodyguards of abducting and robbing the student, who was assaulted in a park in the city’s centre in October 2003 in broad daylight.

The four will be sentenced on Saturday, court officials said.

The victim, who was strolling in the park with a male friend, was attacked by the four soldiers, the prosecution said. While two of them stood guard, the other two raped her.

The park lies within a kilometre of the British-built, red-stone presidential palace, which is guarded by hundreds of soldiers and policemen.

The Indian Express described the October 2003 rape as “an unprecedented stain” on the Presidential Bodyguard, which was founded in 1773 by Britain’s Governor-General Warren Hastings.