UK & World News

  • 15 January 2014, 13:09

India: Danish Tourist 'Gang-Raped In New Delhi'

A Danish tourist has allegedly been gang-raped near a popular shopping area in India's capital city.

The tourist said she was attacked near Connaught Place in New Delhi after losing her way and asking for directions, police said.

Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said the woman, who also reported that she was beaten and robbed, managed to reach her hotel where staff called the police.

The hotel owner said: "When she came, it was miserable." He added that she was crying and "not in good shape".

"I am really ashamed that this happened," he said.

Local media reports said 15 men have been rounded up in connection with the case, although police have refused to confirm that figure.

Deepak Mishra, special commissioner of police, said: "We have detained a group of men and we are questioning them over the incident.

"The woman reported the attack to police and we are investigating. She has declined to undergo a medical examination (to confirm the rape)."

Sexual violence in India has been the focus of international attention since a 23-year-old woman was gang-raped and murdered on a moving bus in the capital in December 2012.

Public outrage over the incident prompted the government to double prison terms for rape to 20 years.

Fast-track courts were also created for rape cases and stalking and voyeurism were criminalised.

Government figures indicate the number of rapes being reported has grown in recent months, suggesting women now feel more able to approach authorities.

Between January and October last year 1,330 rapes were reported in the capital alone, compared to 706 for the whole of 2012.

However critics say there has been little progress in tackling sexual violence, with many women, particularly the poor, suffering daily abuse.

Shobha Ojha from India's ruling Congress Party said: "It is very unfortunate that such incidents happen in our country, and this throws India in a very poor light and people comment that India has become the rape capital of this world.

"We have to be extra cautious, the entire society, the police, politicians have to make extra efforts to ensure that we change the mindset of men in our country. So that such incidents do not happen and we make India a rape free country."

Police apathy, cultural stigmas and a weak legal framework to deal with abuse cases have long served as obstacles for bringing offenders to justice.

Last month a 21-year-old girl was abducted and raped by two gangs while visiting a friend in Karaikal, a port city in Pondicherry state.

In March 2012, a Swiss woman was gang-raped while cycling with her husband in central India.

India's Tourism Ministry has launched an "I respect women campaign" in a bid to prevent such cases from deterring visitors to the country amid fears it may not be safe for female travellers.

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