Mumbai police arrested a second man yesterday on accusations of gang-raping a female photographer in the Indian financial hub — an attack that has renewed anger over the country’s treatment of women.
Echoing a similar assault in New Delhi in December last year that sparked nationwide protests, five men raped the woman in her early twenties in central Mumbai when she was on a magazine assignment with a male colleague on Thursday evening.
Officers arrested the first suspect, in his early twenties, on Friday and a second arrest was made overnight, police spokesman Satyanarayan Choudhary said, without giving further details.
The attack, which shocked a city seen as far safer for women than the capital, sparked outrage on social media sites, uproar in the Indian parliament and protests in Mumbai led by journalists.
The victim, reportedly an intern, was taken for treatment at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital, where staff said she was in stable condition with internal and external injuries.
“While we may still believe that Mumbai is a safe city for women, today, that belief lies badly bruised,” a front-page editorial in the Mumbai Mirror said yesterday.
The latest attack “only reaffirms Mumbai’s rapidly declining safety record and its decaying moral core,” the Mirror said.
The local Mid Day newspaper, under the headline: “Real change needed,” said that the challenge is “to build society that looks at women as equal citizens.”
The incident comes eight months after a 23-year-old woman was gang raped by five men 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 the New Delhi case, which sparked massive protests and led to a tougher rape law.
The Mumbai gang rape took place in an abandoned mill compound next to a fashionable area of apartment and office blocks, shops and restaurants.
The photographer pair were approached by members of the gang and told they should not be there, after which the man was tied up with a belt and the woman was raped repeatedly nearby, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh told reporters.
He said the attack was “a shameful and extremely disturbing event.”
Police say they have identified the three remaining suspects after releasing their sketches to the public and 20 special teams have been formed as part of the manhunt.
Media reports said the second arrest took place in Mumbai’s south, and the two detained men were expected to be sent before a magistrates’ court later yesterday.
This attack is “incredibly horrid,” Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan told India’s NDTV news.
“This is a city that prides itself on women feeling secure — this [assault] breaches all social norms... Something is going wrong with us,” he said.
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