Delhi Police late on Wednesday said two homeless men were arrested in connection with the alleged gang-rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist who lost her way near New Delhi railway station on Tuesday.
“Two person(s) have been arrested in connection with rape case with Danish national,” read a statement from the police, which said both men were “vagabonds” at New Delhi railway station. The two arrested have been identified as Mahender Ganja and Mohammed Raja. A case of gang rape and dacoity has been registered.
She approached the suspects for directions on Tuesday evening while trying to return to her hotel in the bustling Paharganj district of New Delhi, reportedly after visiting a city museum.
Up to six "youngsters" allegedly assaulted and robbed the victim, who was travelling alone and had been in New Delhi since Monday after visiting the Taj Mahal, police and a receptionist at her hotel said.
A senior investigating officer in the Paharganj police station said on condition of anonymity that the victim was held hostage at knifepoint for three hours and had been kicked and slapped.
Her mobile phone and cash were also stolen.
Read: AAP seeks control over Delhi Police after gang-rape of Danish woman
The alleged attack just minutes from Connaught Place in the heart of the capital is the latest involving a foreigner in India, and again raises questions about the safety of women in the country.
Last month, India marked the first anniversary of the death of the student who was gang-raped on a moving bus in the capital in an attack that sent shockwaves across the nation.
The Danish victim refused to be medically examined and was clearly traumatised by the experience, but gave a detailed statement overnight in the presence of her country's ambassador, police said.
"We have identified around four to six people who are the prime suspects in the case," the investigating policeman said, adding that they appeared to be "vagabonds".
"She told us that the attackers were mostly youngsters," he added. She has since left India.
A Danish foreign ministry spokesman said the victim "will be offered support and care when she comes home to Denmark" while declining to give any other details.
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 by trees near a statue, police said.
A police forensic team visited on Wednesday morning and police are in possession of the clothes the victim was wearing at the time of the attack.
Kuldeep Singh, a receptionist at the victim's hotel, said the woman had appeared calm when she returned at about 8:30pm but then confided in a fellow traveller.
"She first came to me at the reception desk and told me that she needed Rs. 200 to give to the auto driver as she had been robbed," Singh said.
The case comes after a Polish woman was allegedly drugged and raped by a taxi driver earlier this month while travelling with her two-year-old daughter to New Delhi.
Protests over sexual violence in the last year have prompted Parliament to toughen laws for rapists and other offenders, while other judicial and police reforms that have encouraged women to report attacks.
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But daily accounts of brutal assaults continue to be reported.
A Class 10 student was gang raped by eight people while her friend was held at a distance on the outskirts of Ranchi late on Sunday.
Badly injured, the victim was rushed to a hospital late in the night after the rapists decamped after abandoning her virtually unconscious. A case against unknown criminals was lodged on Monday night with the Ratu police station after the girl recovered her senses and narrated her ordeal to her parents and the police.
Her friend, also a teenager, told the police that they were taking a stroll along the river near the Kamre village ashram when eight people armed with traditional weapons reached there and took the girl forcibly to the other side of the river and raped her.
A judge last month sentenced three Nepalese men to 20 years in jail for the gang-rape of a US tourist in Himachal Pradesh.
Six men were sentenced to life in prison last July for the gang-rape and robbery of a 39-year-old Swiss woman cyclist who had been holidaying in Madhya Pradesh