Police say a nun in her 70s was gang-raped by a group of bandits when she tried to prevent them from committing a robbery in a Christian missionary school in eastern India.

The attack early Saturday is the latest crime to focus attention on the scourge of sexual violence in India.

A police officer says the nun was hospitalized in serious condition after the attack, which was committed by seven to eight robbers at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in West Bengal state's Nadia district.

The officer says police are searching for the bandits, who escaped with some cash, a mobile phone, a laptop computer and a camera belonging to the school. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.