Additional security forces have been deployed to Meerut, 45 miles east of Delhi, and the city has been divided into sectors based on the communal sensitivities as mobs of agitated Hindus gathered in the city.
Protesters demanded the suspension of policemen who they claimed had refused to respond when the victim’s family complained that she had been kidnapped on July 30.
The officer in charge of the police station was removed from his post late on Monday in an attempt to defuse the tension.
The woman, who taught English and Hindi at a local madrassa to support her family, alleged that four or five Muslim men kidnapped her from her home in a village near Meerut on July 30.
They took her to a madrassa in the adjoining town of Hapur, forcibly converted her to Islam and gave her a Muslim name, she said.
She was then dressed in a veil and moved by her captors to a third madrassa in nearby Muzaffarnagar and gang-raped for three days, she told the police.
She claimed to have met some 20 other women in the madrassa who were also being held captive. Police raided the seminary on Monday and said they had found no captives.
The woman managed to escape on Sunday and return home to her family who informed the police.
Following her compliant, police arrested three people including her village’s Islamic preacher and two others.
The authorities are awaiting the medical report of the alleged victim in order to confirm that she was raped.
The incident has taken a political turn with the local unit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) citing it as an instance of “forced religious conversions”.
Meerut and its adjoining areas with their large Muslim populations have for decades been a cauldron of communal unrest. Earlier this year sectarian clashes erupted ahead of national elections, leaving scores dead.
Last week a confrontation between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims in Saharanpur 70 miles from Meerut left three people dead and curfew imposed for several days.
Local BJP MP Rajendra Aggarwal has promised to raise the raise the matter in parliament and demanded strict action against local police officials and those responsible for the alleged atrocities.
Socialist Party leaders have condemned what they state are the BJP’s attempts to stir communal trouble.
“The accused have been held. Some political parties have tried to give it a communal turn but were unsuccessful” senior party leader, Naresh Aggarwal, said, referring to the BJP.