Gang rape of photo journalist triggers protests in India

Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh gestures as he addresses a news conference at the police club in Mumbai August 23, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh gestures as he addresses a news conference at the police club in Mumbai August 23, 2013. Credit: Reuters

A photo journalist was gang-raped in the Indian city of Mumbai, police said on Friday, evoking comparisons with a similar assault in New Delhi in December that led to nationwide protests and a revision of the country’s rape laws.

The attack on Thursday night triggered protests and an outcry on social media, with many users shocked that it took place in Mumbai, widely considered to be India’s safest city for women.

One man was arrested on Friday and 20 police teams were pursuing four men who had been identified, said Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh.

“Mumbai police will do its best to collect all the evidence – clinching evidence, scientific evidence – so that a fool-proof case is made out in the court, and they get maximum punishment,” Singh said. “We will also request the government that this case be conducted in a fast-track court.”

In rowdy scenes in the upper house of parliament, opposition lawmakers accused the government of not doing enough to protect women, despite tougher sex crime laws brought in this year.

The victim, who is in her early twenties, was admitted to hospital in south Mumbai where she was in stable condition, a hospital official told Reuters by e-mail.

The attack took place shortly before sunset in an abandoned textile mill in Lower Parel, a gritty former industrial district that is now one of the city’s fastest-growing neighborhoods of luxury apartments, malls and bars.

The woman was at the mill on an assignment with a male colleague. The pair were separated by the attackers and her colleague was tied up with a belt while she was assaulted, Singh said.

Several dozen mainly male supporters of the right-wing Shiv Sena political party gathered with flags and banners outside the police station where the case was filed. A further protest was called for later in the afternoon.

Women’s safety in India has been in the spotlight this year following the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in December, which led thousands of Indians to take to the streets in protest. The woman died of her injuries two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.

The trials of the four men and one juvenile accused of the December attack are expected to conclude within the next three weeks. The verdict on the juvenile suspect is set for Aug 31. Closing arguments in the trial of the four adult suspects started on Thursday.

Following public outcry over the Delhi attack, India introduced tougher rape laws in March, which include the death penalty for repeat offenders and for those whose victims were left in a “vegetative state”.

In contrast to Delhi, Mumbai has long been considered a safer place for women to travel alone, even at night.

“(Mumbai) has this sense of security … but these things make us feel that maybe we are not really that safe,” said A. L. Sharada, director of Population First, a Mumbai-based NGO that works on women’s rights issues.

“Women should be able to move freely and take up work. Why should we be worrying about something bad happening to us all the time?”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Protecting the innocent: how PSPCA's humane officers care…

A day on the job with PSPCA officer Greg Jordan as he looks into complaints of animal neglect and cruelty.

Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.