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INDIA

Mumbai police arrest fifth man in gang-rape case

Gang rape of photojournalist reignites anger about women’s safety in India

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 August, 2013, 4:25pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 August, 2013, 4:35pm
 

Mumbai police on Sunday arrested the fifth and final member of a gang suspected of raping a photographer, a crime that reignited anger about women’s safety in India following a similar attack last year.

A Mumbai police team arrested the suspect in the capital New Delhi over the brutal attack on the woman as she was taking photographs in India’s financial hub with a male colleague, a police official said.

“Our crime branch team arrested the fifth suspect from New Delhi earlier on Sunday and he is being brought back to Mumbai,” the official, who did not want to be named, told AFP. The officer declined to give details of the arrest.

The men allegedly trapped and raped the woman, said to be in her early 20s, on Thursday evening in an upmarket district of central Mumbai, where she was on assignment for a magazine, police have said.

The attack rekindled memories of the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi in December. That crime sparked nationwide protests and brought to the surface seething anger about violence against women in India.

A fourth suspect in the latest case, identified by the Press Trust of India as Kasim Bangali, was arrested earlier on Sunday in Mumbai, police said.

Mumbai police made the first arrest on Friday and arrested another two on Saturday, said city police spokesman Satyanarayan Choudhary.

Two of the suspects, their faces covered by black cloth, were remanded in custody until August 30 after appearing in a Mumbai court on Sunday.

On Saturday one of the suspects was also remanded in custody. His grandmother told media he was only 16 and should be tried as a juvenile. Police initially said he was in his 20s.

The woman, reportedly an intern, is undergoing treatment at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital, where staff said she was stable but with multiple injuries.

The attack, which dismayed a city seen as far safer for women than the capital, sparked protests in Mumbai and uproar in the national parliament.

The woman was attacked while she was taking photos of the abandoned Shakti Mills factory compound next to a fashionable area of apartment and office blocks, shops and restaurants.

The victim and her male colleague were approached by some men and told they should not be there, after which the colleague was tied up with a belt and the woman attacked nearby, police said.

The incident comes eight months after the student was gang-raped 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 in its final stages in that case, which sparked massive protests and led to a tougher 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.

Since the December incident, dozens of rapes of women -- including foreign tourists -- have been highlighted in the media.<

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