Female Travelers To India Beware

Journalist Gang-Raped in Mumbai
Victim, 22 years old, is hospitalized; one man arrested.

By SHREYA SHAH

NEW DELHI—Five men raped a 22-year-old woman in an abandoned textile mill in central Mumbai Thursday, Indian police said, casting further doubt over the safety of women in the country.

The woman, an intern at an English-language magazine in Mumbai, was on assignment taking photographs of dilapidated buildings in the Mahalaxmi area of the city, Mumbai’s police chief Satyapal Singh said at a news conference Friday.

The woman was with a 21-year-old male companion. The assailants tied his hands with his belt and raped the woman from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., an official at N. M. Joshi police station said. Medical tests confirmed the rape, he said.

The woman, who cannot be named according to Indian law, was admitted to Jaslok Hospital Thursday evening suffering internal injuries. In a news release, the hospital said her condition is stable.

Mr. Singh said one man has been arrested and four other suspects identified. The arrested man admitted he was present during the attack, Mr. Singh said, without elaborating. Friday morning, police questioned as many as 25 people, the officer at N. M. Joshi station said.

The attack comes as the trial of five people accused in the December gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in Delhi enters its final phase. That crime, in which the student’s male friend was also badly beaten, sparked nationwide protests and prompted the government to introduce harsher penalties for crimes against women.

There were 24,915 reported rapes in India in 2012, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, including 233 in Mumbai. The victims in almost half the Mumbai cases were between 14 and 18 years old.

Activists say the number of rapes is much higher, as many go unreported. India also has a poor record on convictions, with only around a quarter of alleged rapists convicted in 2010. Rape trials can also drag for years.
Journalist organizations in Mumbai said they will hold a “silent protest” rally Friday afternoon at Hutatma Chowk, a square in the south of the city. A joint statement by the city’s Press Club and other journalist groups said the protest will be against the deteriorating law and order situation in Maharashtra and Mumbai.

According to the statement, a delegation of Press Club representatives and other journalists met Mr. Singh, the police commissioner, Thursday night, telling him that the police had failed to provide safety and security to ordinary citizens.
“The police chief was also told that the perception gaining ground was that in most cases the perpetrators of such crimes were never traced, and the victims were left without justice,” the statement said.

It added that journalist organizations will also meet Maharashtra’s home minister R. R. Patil and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to press for swift action in this case.

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