Friday, January 17, 2014

India: Update--Questioning of Suspects Continue in Gang-Rape of Danish Tourist, 51

According to The Hindustan Times, Reuters, NBC News and The Associated Press and my last posting of January 15, the New Delhi police late on Wednesday (January 15) said that two homeless men had been arrested in connection with the gang-rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist who lost her way near New Delhi railway station on Tuesday (January 14).

The two men have been described as Mahender Ganja and Mohammed Raja. A case of gang-raped has been registered.

The Danish woman approached the men for directions on Tuesday evening while attempting to return to her hotel in the bustling Paharganj district of New Delhi, reportedly after visiting a city museum.

Up to six male youths under the age of eighteen gang-raped, assaulted and robbed the victim, who was traveling alone and had been in New Delhi only since Monday (January 13). 

COMMENT: A senior investigating officer in the Paharganj police station said that that the victim was held hostage at knifepoint for three hours, gang-raped, kicked and physically slapped and robbed of her cash, an iPad and her mobile phone.

The Danish victim refused to be medically examined and was clearly traumatized by her victimization, but gave a detailed statement overnight in the presence of Denmark's ambassador, police said.

Having assisted a number of rape victims in the past, I fully understand the added humiliation of a forensic exam, hopefully by female staff, but I cannot emphasize more that it is vital that rape victims submit to a forensic exam and request a female physician or technician to collect the necessary evidence so as to prosecute the assailant(s).

Understandably, the Danish victim promptly left India. It is hoped that at such time as there is a trial of her assailants, that the victim will agree to having her testimony video-taped from Denmark so as her assailants can be convicted, once they all have been identified and arrested.

The crime scene was inside the grounds of the Railway Officers Club on State Entry Road with the victim saying she was dragged to a secluded area shrouded with trees near a statue, police said.

A police crime scene team visited the location where the gang-rape occurred on Wednesday (January 15) and are in possession of the victim’s apparel the victim was wearing at the time of the attack.

The gang-rape of the Danish visitor comes after a Polish expat was allegedly drugged and raped by a taxi driver earlier this month while traveling with her two-year-old daughter to New Delhi.

A judge last month (December) sentenced three Nepalese gang-rapists to 20 years in prison for the gang-rape of a US tourist in Himachal Pradesh.

Six men were sentenced to life in prison in July 2013 for the gang-rape and robbery of a 39-year-old Swiss woman who had been visiting Madhya Pradesh.

Understandably, after a series of rapes and gang-rapes on solo foreign women over the last year [2013], travel to India by single women has declined by 35%. 

Sadly, the Indian government has responded to the historic rape crisis with only long-term prison sentences, rather than a number of societal solutions, including the necessary educational efforts to modify behavior and treatment of women by Indian boys and men.

Until such time as India takes very seriously the need for Indian boys and men to accord women the respect they deserve, I strongly DISCOURAGE solo women traveling to India.