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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crime Bulletin: Another Gang Rape in India

     On Friday night, March 15, 2013, a Swiss couple on a three-month vacation in India were camped out in the forest 400 yards off a road near the town of Datia in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The couple had ridden their bicycles from the temple town of Orchha. In the morning, they planned to bicycle to the city of Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. (A British woman in Agra visiting the Taj Mahal four days later had to jump from her hotel balcony to escape being raped by the hotel owner. The tourist injured her leg.)

     The Swiss woman and her male companion, that Friday night in the Indian woods, were set upon by seven or eight men. The intruders beat them, tied the man to a tree, then gang-raped the woman. After committing these crimes, the gang stole the tourists' mobile phone, laptop computer, and their money. ($188) The woman received treatment for her injuries at a hospital in the nearby city of Gwalior.

    In December 2012, as a result of six men gang-raping and killing a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus, the Swiss government issued a travel notice warning of the dangers of being raped in India. Historically, the police in India have treated rape as a victimless crime. That attitude, in the wake of the New Delhi case and other recent high-profile crimes against women in the country, might be changing. New laws and tougher law enforcement policies, however, will not, among large portions of India's male population, change the culture of rape in that nation. It is still a dangerous place for women.

     On March 17, 2013, the police in Datia arrested six men in connection with the Swiss tourists case. The next day these men were charged with rape, assault, and theft. All of the suspects are poor farmers from villages near the scene of the crimes. 

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