A woman who said she was raped on the orders of village elders has been placed under police protection, along with her family, and will be relocated after being ostracised by villagers following the attack.

Officials said on Sunday that the 22-year-old, who was raped last week by 13 men in the Birbum district of West Bengal, was scared.

"The girl wants to go back to another village where her uncle lives in the same district," said Shashi Panja, the West Bengal women and child welfare minister.

"She is scared of going back to the village where she was gang-raped since the villagers there do not want her back. The girl's family is also under protection of the police now."

Police have arrested 13 men but local media have reported villagers as denying the rape ever took place.

The suspects - from Labhpur village - were accused of raping the woman on January 21 on the orders of a council of village elders for having a relationship with a man outside their tribe.

She made a complaint to the police and was taken to hospital in Birbhum.

The gang-rape caused outrage across India and overseas.

Sexual violence against women in India has remained in the spotlight since December 2012, after the rape and murder of a physiotherapist in a moving bus in Delhi. 

A series of high-profile sex attacks on women prompted several foreign governments - including the UK, US and Canada - to update their advice for women travelling to India.

Source: Reuters