16 Jan 2014

Arrests over tourist rape in India

1:52 pm on 16 January 2014

Police in the Indian capital, New Delhi, have arrested two homeless men over the alleged gang-rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist who lost her way near the main backpackers area of the city on Tuesday.

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Photo: AFP

AFP reports that the woman approached the suspects for directions while trying to return to her hotel in the popular Paharganj tourist quarter, reportedly after visiting a museum.

Up to six young men allegedly dragged her to a secluded part of a garden near the railway station where police say they raped and robbed her at knife-point. The woman later told her hotel staff of the attack.

Police said both arrested men, one of whom was a 25-year-old migrant from nearby Uttar Pradesh, were homeless and sleeping rough at New Delhi railway station. They were both found to be carrying possessions belonging to the victim, including an iPod music player and a spectacles case.

AFP reports that the woman refused a medical examination and was due to return home to Denmark. Before going she gave a detailed statement in the presence of the Danish ambassador.

The alleged attack has again raised questions about the safety of women in India, which last month marked the first anniversary of the death of a student who was gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi - an attack that shocked the nation.

The murder in December 2012 forced the country to confront sexual violence and leading to a tightening of rape laws.

The Indian woman became a symbol of dangers women face in a country where a rape is reported on average every 21 minutes and incidents of molestation are common.