Five youths, including three minors, were detained by Uttar Pradesh police for allegedly physically assaulting a Swiss couple on 22 October at Fatehpur Sikri in Agra.
The couple, Quentin Jeremy Clerc and Marie Droz, were shifted to Apollo hospital in New Delhi. Droz was treated for a fractured forearm, while Clerc is receiving treatment for a fractured skull and other severe injuries.
According to media reports, the couple did not file a complaint with the authorities but police took action in the case after widespread criticism over the attack.
UP Director General of Police Sulkhan Singh said, “While one of the minors was held at the border with Rajasthan late on Wednesday night, two others were detained on Thursday in Fatehpur Sikri, about 40 km from Agra.” The two adults were held on Thursday, according to media reports.
Quentin Jeremy Clerc and his girlfriend Marie Droz arrived in India on September 30 and were attacked by a group of young men when they were strolling near the railway station at Fatehpur Sikri.
Clerc alleged that a group of young men started following them and after passing comments, they forced the couple to stop so they could take selfies with Marie.
Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government into the alleged assault on the couple.
Union Minister of State for Tourism KJ Alphons in his letter wrote to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath said that he is “deeply concerned” over the attacks and that “such incidents negatively impact our image and are detrimental to our efforts in promoting India as a tourism destination”.
On Thursday, senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat wrote a letter to Swiss envoy Ambassador Andreas Baum saying that “It is shameful for us as Indians, that two young tourists who had gone to visit the beautiful symbol of love should have to face this horror.
“I would request you to kindly convey to the young couple that we are ashamed and sad that such an incident should happen and that we strongly protest against the failure of the concerned authorities to provide minimum security to visitors,” Karat wrote in her letter.
Incidents of violence against tourists are not new to the historical city, as a German woman was allegedly molested by a hotel manager at Agra in 2017 and two Japanese tourists were gang-raped in the city in 2007.
Attack on tourists in Uttar Pradesh can be seen as blow to India’s focus on promoting tourism in the country, as the historical city is already witnessing high-voltage political drama over the authenticity of Taj Mahal as a mausoleum, after Hindu religious groups alleged that the monument was initially a Lord Shiva temple.
(With agency inputs)