29 August, 2014 / Ziqa'ad 2, 1435
Unidentified passersby walk near a gate to the yard of the SE Road Railway Officers Club on January 15, 2013, where a Danish tourist visiting India was allegedly raped in New Delhi on January 14. — Photo by AFP
Unidentified passersby walk near a gate to the yard of the SE Road Railway Officers Club on January 15, 2013, where a Danish tourist visiting India was allegedly raped in New Delhi on January 14. — Photo by AFP
Indian investigators visit a spot which police say is where a Danish tourist was gang-raped in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan15, 2014. — Photo by AP
Indian investigators visit a spot which police say is where a Danish tourist was gang-raped in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan15, 2014. — Photo by AP
A statue stands at a spot which police say is where a Danish tourist was gang-raped in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014. — Photo by AP
A statue stands at a spot which police say is where a Danish tourist was gang-raped in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014. — Photo by AP
Indian policemen stand in front of the Paharganj police station in New Delhi on Jan 15, 2013 one day after a Danish tourist visiting India was allegedly raped on January 14.  — Photo by AFP
Indian policemen stand in front of the Paharganj police station in New Delhi on Jan 15, 2013 one day after a Danish tourist visiting India was allegedly raped on January 14. — Photo by AFP
A dog stands outside Hotel Amax Inn in New Delhi Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014. — Photo by AP
A dog stands outside Hotel Amax Inn in New Delhi Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014. — Photo by AP

NEW DELHI: Indian police rounded up a group of homeless men Wednesday over the alleged gang-rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist who lost her way near the main backpacker's area of the capital, officers said.

The woman approached the suspects for directions early on Tuesday evening while trying to return to her hotel in the bustling Paharganj district of New Delhi, reportedly after visiting a city museum.

Up to six “youngsters” allegedly assaulted and robbed the victim, who was travelling alone and had been in New Delhi since Monday after visiting the Taj Mahal, police and a receptionist at her hotel told AFP.

“We have detained a group of men and we are questioning them over the incident,” special commissioner of police Deepak Mishra told AFP.

A senior investigating officer in the Paharganj police station told AFP on condition of anonymity that the victim was held hostage at knife-point for three hours and had been kicked and slapped.

Her mobile phone and cash had also been stolen.

The alleged attack just minutes from Connaught Place in the heart of the capital is the latest involving a foreigner in India, and again raises questions about the safety of women in the world's second most populous country.

Last month, India marked the first anniversary of the death of the student who was gang-raped on a moving bus in the capital in an attack that sent shockwaves across the nation.

Attackers were young 'vagabonds'

The Danish victim refused to be medically examined and was clearly traumatised by the experience, but gave a detailed statement overnight in the presence of the Danish ambassador, police said.

She has since left India.

“We have identified around four to six people who are the prime suspects in the case,” the investigating policeman said, adding that they appeared to be “vagabonds”.

“She told us that the attackers were mostly youngsters,” he added.

The crime scene was inside the grounds of the Railway Officers Club on State Entry Road with the victim saying she was dragged to a secluded area shrouded by trees near a statue.

A police forensic team visited on Wednesday morning and police are in possession of the clothes the victim was wearing at the time of the attack.

''When she came, it was miserable,'' said Amit Bahl, owner of the Amax Hotel in the Paharganj area, which is popular with backpackers. The woman was crying and ''not in good shape,'' he said. ''I am really ashamed that this happened,'' said Bahl, who sounded shaken, according to news agency AP.

Kuldeep Singh, a receptionist at the victim's hotel, said the woman had appeared calm when she returned at about 8:30pm (1500 GMT) but then confided in a fellow traveller, according to AFP.

“She first came to me at the reception desk and told me that she needed 200 rupees to give to the auto driver as she had been robbed,” Singh said.

Danish ambassador Freddy Svane told AFP the embassy was providing assistance to the woman, but declined to give further details.

The case comes after a Polish woman was allegedly drugged and raped by a taxi driver earlier this month while travelling with her two-year-old daughter to New Delhi.

Women tourists in Paharganj said they were aware of past cases and the new incident had rung alarm bells.

“I felt very unsafe with walking the streets and seeing what you see and everybody staring at you, but you can't not travel to India because of it,” said Jessica Orpwood, a 21-year-old student backpacker from New Zealand.

Protests over sexual violence in the last year have prompted India's parliament to toughen laws for rapists and other offenders, while other judicial and police reforms that have encouraged women to report attacks.

But daily accounts of brutal assaults continue to be reported in the country's newspapers.

A schoolgirl was raped by eight men in the eastern city of Ranchi this week while they held her male friend, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday.

A judge last month sentenced three Nepalese men to 20 years in jail for the gang-rape of a US tourist in June in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

Six men were sentenced to life in prison last July for the gang-rape and robbery of a 39-year-old Swiss woman cyclist who had been holidaying in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

Bridget McCaffrey, another backpacker from New Zealand, said news of the latest assault had come as a shock “but considering in the last year what's been happening in India with women, maybe not so much.”

”If I were to come back to India it would be with a group or with my partner again, I wouldn't be coming alone as a single female traveller,” she said.


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Comments (17) (Closed)


Skindar
Jan 15, 2014 12:32pm

International media, DAWN and Indian media have totally ignored hundreds of rape victim from Muzzfarnager in riot UP. Their only crime was being Muslim during election time. DAWN please highlight their plight, our Indian media has failed to do so.

haris
Jan 15, 2014 02:43pm

"51 year old Woman gang raped by more than six men"

God forbids but how sick is this?

Lynn Cee
Jan 15, 2014 03:32pm

Wow; not another tourist gang-raped and robbed at knifepoint. Big problem over there. Not good for business and tourism in India. And hugely embarrassing to Indians living abroad.

asif
Jan 15, 2014 05:56pm

The west thinks muslims are terrorists, now they will see hindus as rapists.

Goga Nalaik
Jan 15, 2014 06:56pm

India is no more a safe for women

GD
Jan 15, 2014 07:46pm

@asif: Many of these rapists are Muslims indeed. Just FYI.

Sreekanth
Jan 15, 2014 09:34pm

Itis nothing new in India, just resurfacing because of social media. Actual mental state of general indian youngsters is much horrible than this.

kareem
Jan 15, 2014 09:36pm

Indians are always sanctimonious on women's rights towards Pakistanis. Time for Indians to put their own house in order instead of always mocking Pakistan.

Youth
Jan 15, 2014 10:09pm

I think those especially the western women planning a trip to India should better consider the pros & cons before embarking on such journey. Some spend so much money to go to India to see the country, enjoy the heritage but in return they get the filthiest of women oriented crime. After this crime a suffering women feels destroyed. No matter what she cannot live her life again, never.

Md Mushtaq
Jan 15, 2014 10:57pm

@asif: Please read the newspapers today. "Mohd. Raja, 22, hailing from Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh was arrested by the police from central Delhi's Shivaji Park area." There is no need to bring religion and politics in here. This is a problem with entire South Asia. You would understand it if you were a desi living abroad. Whatever happens in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh affects the entire South Asian diaspora.

very common man of india
Jan 16, 2014 01:28am

@asif: yeah that is because in Pakistan, it is the norm for rape victims to commit suicide..Im not saying it, it came on yesterday's NY times...we all know what happened to the rape victim who decided to protest, they are now running a play based on that in NY theaters

independentthinker
Jan 16, 2014 03:03am

I have been hearing that if women in India are allowed to carry guns, they could protect themselves better - how about the tourists? Should they be handed a gun, as soon as they land in India along with the visitor visa and told "Welcome to India"? You need stiffer sentences and non-corrupt police force to control this problem. Without that, nothing will stop these rapists from committing such heinous crimes. And this problem exists in other countries as well - including Pakistan. The only difference is in India, women are starting to speak out and also, more tourists are visiting India and such incidents become major media news.

Indian
Jan 16, 2014 12:31pm

@asif: wow! You think we are not ashamed of few of these people? How can you use this kind of incident to show and make us feel bad?

HM
Jan 16, 2014 11:58pm

@GD: Yeah Right! Check out their names buddy.

Laeeq,NY
Jan 17, 2014 07:48am

Why Indians are gang raping their own women and not leaving alone the tourists to their country. Its time to bring testosterone levels under control. It will hurt their country;s reputation and will huert their tourist industry too.

nasr
Jan 17, 2014 09:15am

@GD: Do you have one eg?

rasgullah
Jan 17, 2014 11:26am

The media should release the names of the rapists. But Pakistan would not have this problem as no tourist visits them.