NEW DELHI: Police on Sunday arrested the last of five men wanted in the gang rape of a photojournalist in Mumbai, and said charges would be filed soon in a case that has incensed the public and fueled debate over whether women can be safe in India.

The victim, a 22-year-old Indian woman, said she was anxious to return to work after Thursday night's assault, in which five men repeatedly raped her while her male colleague was beaten and tied up in an abandoned textile mill in the country's financial capital.

''Rape is not the end of life,'' the woman was quoted Sunday by the Times of India as saying. Indian law forbids identifying rape victims by name.

Police arrested the fifth suspect Sunday in New Delhi, the capital, after rounding up the other four in Mumbai.

''We will file a comprehensive charge sheet soon,'' said Mumbai's police commissioner, Satyapal Singh, assuring that police had the evidence to prosecute the suspects, including the victim's testimony and medical samples taken at the hospital where she was treated after the assault.

It is rare for rape victims to visit police or a hospital immediately after an attack in India, where an entrenched culture of tolerance for sexual violence has led to many cases going unreported.

Women are often pressed by social pressure or police to stay quiet about sexual assault, experts say, and those who do report cases are often subjected to public ridicule or social stigma.

People across India were shocked and shamed in December, however, by the brutal gang rape in New Delhi of a 23-year-old student who died two weeks later from her injuries.

Pledging to crack down, the federal government created fast-track courts for rape cases, doubled prison terms for rape, and criminalised voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women.

Under intense pressure, police have acted quickly to hunt down the five suspects in the Mumbai case.

Home Minister R R Patil visited investigators at a Mumbai police station Saturday night, and the government has urged the harshest punishment for those found guilty.

The five suspects, including two picked up overnight and two arrested earlier, are likely to face prosecution under a strict new law that sets the maximum prison term for rape at 20 years.

Police said the suspects targeted the photojournalist as she and a male colleague were on a magazine assignment in a south Mumbai neighborhood where luxury malls and condominiums stand alongside sprawling slums and abandoned mills.

The suspects, first pretending to help get her permission to shoot, tied up the male journalist and dragged the woman to a dense clutch of shrubbery, where they assaulted her while threatening her with a broken beer bottle, police said.

A court on Saturday ordered two suspects held until Aug 30, and police say one will undergo medical tests to determine his age after his family said he was a juvenile of 16.

Police maintain he is 19, which makes him eligible for trial as an adult.

The eldest of the suspects is 25.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (5)

August 25, 2013 3:02 pm

Shame on journalists who hide the names of suspects, no doubt in Pakistan rape is rarely reported because you guys will blame the victim than the culprits. I know for sure why you dont want to give the names out but remember even when you close your eyes the world would still watch your dirty side.

August 25, 2013 3:34 pm

Although its not only heinous but reflective of the society which claims to be more proud in calling themselves as most secular and largest democratic country in the world ..... at the expense of such crimes and where 30% of 1.2 billion population sleep without or without proper shelter. Such offenders must be hanged within three days of arrest.

August 25, 2013 6:50 pm

If guilty, hang'em high !!!

August 25, 2013 6:56 pm

Why dont u give their names ? Is it because 4 are Muslims and 1 is a Hindu

August 26, 2013 12:07 pm

@ailly: Your statement tells one more about you and the society you are a product of, than it does of the society you are commenting about. Here, on the one hand, we have a woman who has been raped, a nation that has been shocked into introspection and a city that is out in the streets to protest and on the other hand we have you - a person hiding behind a keyboard,who couldn't help but bring religion into the picture.

I hope the moderators allow the following link to be displayed along with the rest of my comment: Note the names of four of the five accused!

As for your statement that "such offenders must be hanged within three days of arrest"; no they mustn't - and precisely because we're talking of, in your words, "the society which claims to be more proud in calling themselves as most secular and largest democratic country in the world". The accused will be tried, irrespective of their religion because despite our occasionally glaring flaws, we do pride ourselves in being a secular society and the due legal recourse would be extended to them because we are immensely democratic - even in times when emotions ride high.

As for the percentage of the 1.2 billion plus who live in poverty, here's some perspective - you're talking of a national population bigger than the population of the entire continent of Africa, that occupies a physical space smaller than Africa and has resources considerably lower than those of an entire continent. Your comment, thus, is a non sequitur.

Warm regards from Delhi.

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