A watchman at a hotel in the north Indian city of Varanasi has been arrested for raping a 70-year-old French national.

Police have arrested Omprakash from Mirzapur town after the woman filed a First Information Report (FIR) on Thursday (29 June) alleging that he raped her while she was sleeping in her hotel room on Wednesday night. The woman has been sent to a hospital for medical examination and treatment.

Police said that the French national is a regular visitor to Varanasi and is associated with a non-governmental organisation (NGO). She had been staying at a local hotel along the Ganges River for the last 11 months.

Omprakash first barged into her room in a drunken condition at night, snatched her mobile phone and beat her up before forcing himself on her, police said, citing the woman's complaint.

The accused has been charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 (rape) and 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), senior superintendent of police Nitin Tiwari said.

The case comes on the heels of another sexual violence case where a married woman was raped by her 58-year-old father inside a police station in the North Indian city of Mathura.

Laws against sexual violence have been tightened in India after the 2012 gang rape and murder of a 22-year-old student on a Delhi bus.

However, it has failed to stop crimes against women in India, where one rape takes place every 30 minutes, the Times of India reported based on analysis of crime data for 13 years. According to the National Crime Records Bureau's figures released in 2013, rape is the fourth most common crime in India.

Woman in shadow
Police said the woman was asleep when Omprakash entered her room and assaulted her - Representational image Getty