Four men have been formally charged in a Mumbai court over the gang rape of a young photographer in the city last month, a case that reignited anger about women's safety across India.

The four suspects, arrested within days of the attack, appeared at the Esplanade Court barefooted and looking dishevelled.

They were charged with at least five offences including gang-rape, unnatural sex, illegal confinement, destruction of evidence, and conspiracy over the attack on August 22.

A fifth suspect, who was under 18 at the time of the offence, is expected to be charged separately in a juvenile court.

The 22-year-old photographer was repeatedly raped while she was on an assignment taking photos in an abandoned mill compound in central Mumbai.

A male colleague accompanying her was also beaten and tied up with a belt while she was assaulted and threatened with a broken beer bottle, police say.

The next hearing in the case was set for Monday.

The attack sparked outrage in the financial hub Mumbai, which has long been thought of as safer for women than the capital New Delhi, where the fatal gang-rape of a young woman in December shook the nation.

Last week, a court convicted four adult suspects in the Delhi case and sentenced them to death, which the judge said was justified to deter other would-be rapists from attacking women.

Though the Delhi and Mumbai cases have garnered widespread media attention, gang-rapes and brutal sexual assaults are reported daily in Indian newspapers.

Source: AFP