Indian police arrest two suspects in alleged gang rape of Danish woman

Jan. 16, 2014 at 1:27 AM
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NEW DELHI, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Indian police in New Delhi arrested two suspects in the alleged gang rape of a 51-year-old Danish woman by several men she had approached to ask for directions.

While other suspects were being sought, CNN quoted police as saying the two arrested suspects are about 22 and 25 years old.

The rape incident Wednesday, in which the victim was quoted as saying she was held at knife point and repeatedly raped by seven or eight men and robbed, brought back memories of the gang rape and brutal beating of a 23-year-old New Delhi student in a moving bus 13 months ago, who later died of her massive injuries. Four attackers in that incident have since been sentenced to death by hanging.

Despite a number of steps taken by authorities since then and stricter laws to protect women, not much has changed in the country to ensure the safety of women, one local media report said.

In the latest case, New Delhi police quoted the Danish woman, who had arrived as a tourist on Jan. 1, as saying she had lost her way to her hotel in the central New Delhi area of Paharganj and was attacked when she approached a group of men to ask for directions.

A senior police official told CNN-IBN channel they recovered a mobile phone and other items from the two suspects. The items had been purchased with stolen cash, the report said.

After the incident, the victim recorded her statement with police and flew back to Denmark without undergoing any medical examination, police said.

"On Tuesday, she had gone to visit a museum near Connaught Place," a popular tourist spot in New Delhi, a police official told CNN-IBN. "On her way back to the hotel at around 4 p.m. she lost her way. As she was looking for directions, a group of men allegedly waylaid her to a secluded place where they first robbed her cash, iPad and other valuables [at] knife point and then took turns to rape her."

Police said the victim managed to reach her hotel 3 hours later and the facility's manager then called police, who recorded a case of gang rape. The Danish Embassy also was informed.

"When she came, she was crying and not in good shape," the hotel owner said.

"Although she didn't undergo a medical test here, she can have a test in Denmark and its report can be sent to us," a police investigator told CNN-IBN. "We also have other evidence in the case and we are sure that we would be able to crack it very soon."

Police identified the other suspects and said they would be arrested soon.

The Times of India reported police described the suspects as vagrants and drug addicts. The leader of the gang, who is one of the two suspects arrested, is also a suspect in two murder cases, sources told the newspaper.

The Copenhagen Post quoted an official at the Danish Foreign Ministry as saying: "We see this as a very serious case. Luckily it is rare that such a brutal attack takes place against a Dane abroad. Via the embassy in India, we are in close contact with the Indian police."

The New York Times reported there have been similar attacks on tourists, including one last March in which a 39-year-old Swiss tourist was attacked as she and her husband were on a bicycle trip in Madhya Pradesh state. A court later sentenced six men to life imprisonment.

Recently, a Polish woman said she was drugged and raped by a taxi driver while traveling with her 2-year-old daughter to New Delhi.

"That a woman can get gang-raped in the heart of the national capital in the afternoon of a weekday shows just how terrible is the situation when it comes to women's safety in India," the Times of India said in an editorial. "It also shows how little has changed on the ground despite the huge protests that rocked Delhi a little more than a year ago after the [gang rape of the New Delhi college student]. Clearly much more needs to be done, and with a sense of urgency and purpose."

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