India gang-rape protest
Students from the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Ranaghat, 70km north of Kolkata, protesting after a nun was gang-raped at the convent Getty Images

Thousands of people are set to join a silent procession in protest at the gang-rape of an elderly nun which occurred at the weekend in West Bengal state.

The nun, in her seventies, was sexually assaulted at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in eastern India by at least six men who ransacked and burgled the convent on 14 March. The incident shocked the nation, already rocked by several cases of rape last year involving young girls who were abused and then hanged from mango trees.

The "solidarity" rally will be held in Kolkata on Monday (16 March) and will have "no speeches", the BBC said, quoting reports from the city's diocese. A candlelit vigil for the victim is also planned.

The nun is in a stable condition at the Ranaghat hospital in Kolkata. At least 10 men have been held in connection to the incident. However, none of them are said to resemble the six men caught by CCTV footage released by police.

West Bengal governor KN Tripathi urged the public to help authorities find the culprits.

"No one should insult any religious institute like this. I am sure that this government will do its best to catch the culprits", he told reporters.

The assault occurred a few weeks after India banned a BBC documentary about the 2012 gang rape and murder of a female student in Delhi.

Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old student, was sexually abused, beaten and thrown out of a moving bus while she was returning home from the cinema with a male friend. She later died at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

Mukesh Singh, who was driving the bus at the time of the assault and participated in the gang-rape, sparked outrage after blaming Jyoti for what happened to her during an interview for the documentary.

"A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy," he said, adding that the killing was an accident and Jyoti would have not died if she and her friend had not tried to fight back during the aggression.

"When being raped, she shouldn't fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they'd have dropped her off after 'doing her', and only hit the boy."

Last December, Jyoti's family warned that women in India are still not safe, while a survey published by the Hindustan Times revealed that 2,054 women out of 2,257 (91%) interviewed in Delhi believed the capital had not become any safer since the gang-rape attack. At least 2,189 women (97%) admitted they had faced some form of sexual harassment.