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Danish tourist was gang-raped, Indian police say

By Ashok Sharma

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:40 a.m. HST, Jan 15, 2014

NEW DELHI » A 51-year-old Danish tourist was gang-raped near a popular shopping area in New Delhi after she got lost and approached a group of men for directions back to her hotel, police said Wednesday (Tuesday in Hawaii).

Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said two people were arrested after a daylong search for the suspects. Details were not immediately available.

The attack is the latest crime to focus attention on the scourge of sexual violence in India.

The woman also was robbed and beaten in the attack, which happened Tuesday near Connaught Place, Bhagat said.

The woman asked the men for directions to her hotel, Bhagat said. They lured her to a secluded area where they raped her at knife-point, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The woman managed to reach her hotel Tuesday evening and the owner called police. Police were questioning several other suspects.

"When she came, it was miserable," said Amit Bahl, owner of the Amax hotel in the Paharganj area, which is popular with backpackers. The woman was crying and "not in good shape," he said.

"I am really ashamed that this happened," said Bahl, who sounded shaken.

A sign outside the hotel reads, "Recommended by Lonely Planet."

The woman, whose name was not released, was on her way back to Denmark, said Ole Egberg Mikkelsen, head of the Danish Foreign Ministry's consular department in Copenhagen, which handles cases involving Danes abroad. Egberg Mikkelsen said the woman had received assistance from Indian and Danish authorities, and that her next of kin had been contacted.

An Indian police official said the woman boarded a flight home Wednesday morning.

It was not immediately known whether she had been traveling alone. The Danish Embassy in New Delhi had no comment.

The problem of sexual violence in India has gained widespread attention since the horrific gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in December 2012. Public fury over the case has led to more stringent laws that doubled prison terms for rape to 20 years and criminalized voyeurism and stalking.

But for many women, particularly the poor, daily indignities and abuse continue unabated and the new laws have not made the streets any safer. Ranjana Kumari, director of India's Center for Social Research, said India's conservative, patriarchal traditions lead men to use rape as a tool to instill fear in women.

"This mindset is not changing," she said. "It's a huge challenge."

Experts say the rapid growth of India's cities and the yawning gulf between rich and poor are exacerbating the problem of sexual violence, with young men struggling to prove their traditional dominance in a changing world.

Cultural stigmas, police apathy and judicial incompetence have long made it difficult for women to even report rapes.

Still, there has been a surge in the number of rapes being reported recently, suggesting women are emboldened to speak up. Between January and October last year, 1,330 rapes were reported in Delhi and its suburbs, compared with 706 for all of 2012, according to government figures.

Foreigners also have been targets, including a Swiss woman who was cycling with her husband in central India when she was gang-raped.

The cases threaten India's lucrative tourism industry. Last year, the Tourism Ministry launched an "I Respect Women" campaign to reassure travelers. Tourism accounted for 6.6 percent of India's GDP in 2012, the latest year for which figures are available.

Associated Press writers Chonchui Ngashangva in New Delhi and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

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EwaWarrior wrote:
India is a "barbaric" place. While this type of crime is fairly rampant in this third world country, nothing gets done to punish the perpetrators. India would rather bellow and hollor when people of status (i.e., diplomats) get caught abusing power and/or breaking the law, expressing feigned outrage. So much for being the world's largest "democracy"! If they want to be a big boy on the world stage, put on your big boy pants.
on January 15,2014 | 03:59AM
wsato wrote:
...instead of taking them off
on January 15,2014 | 04:13AM
lokela wrote:
India is not a place to go. The uneducated or even some educated Indians are just plain animals that need to be put down. It's just an overpopulated place where there are no morals. And they not the only place on this earth where barbaric crimes occur. Just stay away from these places.
on January 15,2014 | 05:15AM
geralddeheer wrote:
"just plain animals that need to be put down"? Are you serious?
on January 15,2014 | 06:42AM
lokela wrote:
Well maybe not that serious. Just disgusted.
on January 15,2014 | 07:27AM
cojef wrote:
Very good post, cruised a lot in my day, but never cared t visit India. Too unsanitary and backward! This is not the first time a foreign woman was raped. European single woman love hiking and have a penchant of selecting remote and rugged places to do their hiking. India should not one of theses places.
on January 15,2014 | 08:19AM
miss_laulau wrote:
With all the news about violence in these countries, why do women especially those traveling alone go there? I'm sorry but I don't consider India an ideal vacation spot.
on January 15,2014 | 06:01AM
Junkflyer wrote:
Female tourists should boycott India.
on January 15,2014 | 06:53AM
mrluke wrote:
So much for the legacy of Gandhi!
on January 15,2014 | 07:05AM
Nevadan wrote:
Keep Gandhi out
on January 15,2014 | 07:39AM
saveparadise wrote:
Crime is rampant anywhere when there is no accountability. Apparently this has been a social standard in India (the female vicitm is also the persecuted?) and changes will come but very slowly. Till then stay far away from India if you are female.
on January 15,2014 | 07:49AM
9ronboz wrote:
Corruption is rampant
on January 15,2014 | 07:57AM
Hoppy wrote:
Perhaps the international community should boycott India by not giving them business. For example, maybe stop outsourcing jobs to that country, have airlines stop flying to there as a destination, and stop importing India's goods. This might cripple or hamper their economy. Maybe that'll put more pressure on their government leaders to do more. So far I only read about the international community strongly protesting in anger. Maybe it's time to raise the bar on this issue in a collective way. It might be worth a try.
on January 15,2014 | 10:43AM
kprtyqn wrote:
wow you mean they get prison time? Hell id just cut it off................then they can attempt to see if they wanna fit back into society or let others "gang rape" them
on January 15,2014 | 11:21AM
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