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Outrage, debate over Mumbai journalist's gang-rape, city's safe image dented

Agencies  Mumbai, August 23, 2013
First Published: 21:35 IST(23/8/2013) | Last Updated: 09:44 IST(24/8/2013)

Five men gangraped a woman photographer in Mumbai, police said on Friday, fuelling protests and stirring memories of a similar attack last December in New Delhi.

The attack took place on Thursday evening in an upmarket district of central Mumbai as the 23-year-old woman and a male colleague were taking photos of old buildings for a magazine.

The pair were approached by members of the gang and told they should not be there. The man was then tied up with a belt while the woman was raped repeatedly nearby, Mumbai's police commissioner Satyapal Singh told reporters.

"It is a shameful and extremely disturbing event," he said.

One man in his early 20s has been arrested while the hunt is on for his four alleged accomplices, who have been identified by police. Sketches of the accused have been released.

The victim, reportedly an intern, is undergoing treatment at Mumbai's Jaslok Hospital and preliminary reports suggest multiple internal injuries, a police officer told AFP. A hospital statement said she was "stable".

Students carry a girl in cage as they shout slogans during a protest against Mumbai gangrape incident, in Sangli. (PTI Photo)

Mumbai a safe city?
The attack has shocked a city which has so far been seen as safer for women than the capital. Renowned columnist and writer Shobhaa De on Friday said that the administration has completely failed in providing safety for women and added that it is a myth to consider Mumbai a safe city. Read: Ajit Pawar rapped police over safety of women hours earlier

"If the administration has failed to provide safety to not just our women but our children and every working professional in Mumbai city then it is a great slap in the face of not just our chief minister but the current government and the police," she said.

Thursday's attack sparked anger on social media websites, and journalist groups protested in Mumbai on Friday afternoon, with many holding signs which read "Mumbai: India's New Rape Capital" and "Bring Rapists To Book!".  Read: Mumbai journalists hold protest to condemn gangrape

Mumbai Police commissioner Satyapal Singh addresses a press conference in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

"Women need to be vigilant and aware of themselves and the surroundings. There is no solution, no cure," Swati Pillai, who works in south Mumbai with an advertising firm, said.

Business manager and mother Manjiri Jamadagni said the incident was "very disturbing".

"Bombay was always safe but in recent years it's been changing. It's not the same," she said, using Mumbai's former name.

The city council came under fire in May for a proposal to ban lingerie-clad mannequin dummies in shops and markets for fear they could encourage sex crime. Read: Photojournalist gangrape triggers online outrage

Thursday's attack sparked anger on social media websites, and journalist groups protested in Mumbai on Friday afternoon, with many holding signs which read "Mumbai: India's New Rape Capital" and "Bring Rapists To Book!".

India's parliament in New Delhi also erupted in anger.

Law minister Kapil Sibal said sex assaults must be dealt with "in the most severe fashion".

"This country cannot afford to have our women (and) children insecure in the hands of those who attack them," he told reporters. Read: Opposition seeks Patil's resignation over gangrape

Photojournalists hold placards as they protest against the gangrape of a 22-year-old woman photojournalist in Mumbai. (AP Photo)

Twitter reactions:

The brutal gang-rape of the young photojournalist in Mumbai created an outrage on social media.

Shock and anger poured in as people criticised the comparison between Mumbai and Delhi and condemned the lack of action after such incidents.


Read: Chargesheet on Mumbai photojournalist's gang-rape soon: RR Patil

Read: Celebs horrified over Mumbai gangrape

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