Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Indian police investigate gang rape

There are heightened concerns about sexual violence in India

A young woman photojournalist has been gang raped while her male colleague was tied up and beaten in India's business hub of Mumbai, police said.

The case was reminiscent of the December gang rape of a young university student in the Indian capital.

Police said the woman was on assignment to take pictures of an abandoned textile factory in south Mumbai late Thursday when five men confronted her, and offered to help her get permission to shoot inside the building.

Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh told reporters that the men tied her colleague's hands with a belt while she was gang raped. The woman, reported to be in her early 20s, is in a stable condition in hospital.

The assault comes amid heightened concerns about sexual violence in India.

The attack took place in Lower Parel, a former textile manufacturing neighbourhood of south Mumbai that over the past decade has changed dramatically, with upmarket malls, restaurants and apartments sitting side-by-side with abandoned mills and sprawling slums.

The five men became aggressive and accused the male colleague of being involved in a local crime. When he denied involvement in the crime, they tied his hands and took the woman to another part of the compound and took turns raping her.

Police arrested one suspect in the attack and he has named and identified the other four men, police said. While officers have released sketches of the four men, detectives would not give their names or other details, saying authorities did not want to give them any warning that they were being sought. Sources said the men might have been local drug dealers.

The gang rape and death of the student on a bus in New Delhi in December shook a country long inured to violence against women and sparked protests demanding better protection.

In response, the government passed a stringent law increasing prison terms for rape and making voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women punishable under criminal law.

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