3 suspects arrested in gang rape of female photographer in Mumbai
NEW DELHI (CNN) — Indian police have arrested two more suspects and are looking for two others in the reported gang rape of a female photographer in Mumbai, authorities said.
One person had been arrested earlier Saturday.
The alleged rape of the 23-year-old woman in the financial hub of Mumbai on Thursday is the latest shocking sexual assault to make headlines in the South Asian nation.
The unidentified victim and a male colleague were on assignment in the area for a print publication when some of the men approached them, according to Mumbai police commissioner Satypal Singh.
The two had walked from a train station to a nearby mill, the woman said in a statement released by police. Two people approached them, then a third came in, claiming to be a railway employee and saying, “Our boss has seen you taking photos, you will have to come with us.”
According to the woman, this third man refused to let her talk to his boss, instead leading them away. Then, sometime near the exit, one of the accused pointed at the photojournalist’s colleague as being responsible for a killing in that location a few days ago.
“I pleaded with them to let us go, but they shouted at me and threatened me,” the woman said. She and her colleague were taken further inside the mill complex.
There, they offered their camera and phone, begging to be let go. Instead, “they tied my friend’s hands with (a) belt” as two others joined the group, the woman said.
“Three people stayed with my friend, and the two took me behind a wall,” she added.
That’s where the attack allegedly occurred — even as the victim said her mother called her phone multiple times, before one of the men switched it off. The woman said she was threatened with, among other things, sharp pieces of a broken beer bottle.
Police have since released sketches of all five suspects.
The victim was in stable condition at a local hospital,
The attack rocked Mumbai residents, who consider their city safer than the capital, New Delhi.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 221 rape cases were reported in Mumbai in 2012.
But figures provided by the government show that there has been a rape reported to police every day in Mumbai between January and March. The average number of reported rapes in a month in 2013 in the city rose to 30.33, from 19.25 in 2012.
Delhi Police said the number of reported rapes in the capital had jumped from 179 for the first 3½ months of last year to 463 for the same period this year.
A rise in the number of rapes reported does not necessarily mean that more are being committed. It may be that recent high-profile cases have encouraged women to come forward with complaints.
The case mirrors the December gang rape and death of a 23-year-old university student in the Indian capital.
The victim later died at a hospital in Singapore, sparking an outcry that quickly grew to include widespread concerns about women’s safety and inequalities, triggering demonstrations in various cities.
In response, the nation’s lawmakers have introduced tougher laws and punishments for sexual crimes and harassment. Despite such action, frequent episodes of sexual violence are reported in India.
Across India, 24,923 cases of rape were reported last year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
From Mallika Kapur
Journalist Dharmesh Thakkar contributed to this report from Mumbai, and CNN’s Greg Botelho contributed from Atlanta.