MUMBAI – Five men gang-raped a female photographer in India’s financial hub Mumbai, police said Friday, fuelling anger and stirring memories of a similar attack last December in New Delhi.
The latest incident occurred Thursday evening in an isolated part of an upmarket, centrally located district of Mumbai where the 23-year-old woman, accompanied by a male colleague, was taking photos of old buildings for a magazine, a police officer told AFP.
“The men beat up the man, tied him up and raped the woman in a secluded part of the Shakti Mills area,” the officer said, requesting anonymity.
The victim, reportedly an intern, is undergoing treatment at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital and preliminary reports suggest multiple internal injuries, the officer told AFP. A hospital statement said she was “stable”.
Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said police had arrested one man.
Mumbai police, who will address media later Friday, released sketches of the five accused. The woman identified two of them by their first names, which she overheard them using, investigators said.
“We are 100 percent confident of cracking the case,” city police commissioner Satyapal Singh told television reporters.
The incident comes eight months after another 23-year-old woman was gang-raped by five men in a moving bus in New Delhi, while her male companion was beaten up. She died two weeks later from severe injuries.
A trial is under way in that case, which sparked massive protests and led to a new, tougher anti-rape law.
The new measures increased punishment for sex offenders, which now include the death penalty if a victim dies, and broadened the definition of sexual assault.
Sex crimes have continued across India since the December 16 gang-rape but Thursday’s attack once again captured the attention of the media and public, and came as a shock to many in Mumbai, considered one of India’s safest cities for women.
It also sparked outrage on social media sites such as Twitter.
Local journalist groups planned demonstrations in the city later on Friday, while India’s parliament erupted in protest at the gang-rape.
India’s Law Minister Kapil Sibal said sex assaults must be dealt with “in the most severe fashion”.
“This country cannot afford to have our women (and) children insecure in the hands of those who attack them,” he told reporters.