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بدھ، 20 مارچ، 2013

British tourist injured fleeing India sex attack

The attack comes just three months after thousands took to the streets in nationwide protests following the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi. The victim, a physiotherapy student died from internal injuries after being savagely assaulted by six men. One of her alleged attackers was found dead in his prison cell in New Delhi on Monday.
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The facade of an Indian hotel, where a British tourist reportedly jumped from in an attempt to escape a sexual assault,


A female British tourist was admitted to hospital after jumping through a hotel window yesterday over fears of a sex attack in the Indian city of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, police said. The victim, who was not named but was in her early 30s, suffered leg injuries when she leapt from the first floor after two men tried to enter her room in the Hotel Agra Mahal at around 4:00 am. “She got frightened so she ran to the other end of the room and jumped out of the window,” Pawan Kumar, superintendent of police in Agra, told AFP.

Another officer who was with the victim in hospital said she had earlier rejected the hotel manager’s overtures offering a massage. He then returned with a second man and attempted to open the door to her room with a key, the officer said. Swaranjeet, deputy superintendent of police in Agra, who only uses one name, said that one person had been taken into custody on charges of harassment.

The victim had suffered a ligament fracture in one leg but her injuries were not serious, Swaranjeet told AFP. “But she is very scared and has cancelled her plans to keep travelling in India. She just wants to return home,” she added. A member of staff at the hotel, who would not give his full name, said the manager had merely tried to wake up the victim in time for an early morning train. “We don’t know what she thought but she jumped out of the window of her room,” said the staff member. Last week, a Danish tourist Judith Jensen has a long list of don’ts to help her feel safe during her holiday in India.

She won’t hail a taxi off the street, she won’t stay in an obscure hotel and she won’t go out after darkall decisions made in response to the growing reporting of sexual crime in the country. “I have read and heard so much about rape in India that now I feel this persistent sense of danger,” Jensen, 42 said as she walked through a popular market in downtown Delhi. The tourism ministry’s ubiquitous Incredible India marketing campaign has helped boost the number of foreign visitors over the past decade to around 6.6 million a year-albeit still way behind the likes of China and Malaysia. But that push is now hampered by a growing sense that India is simply not a safe destination, particularly for women.

The fatal gangrape of an Indian student in December shone a disturbing light on the levels of sexual violence and a series of subsequent attacks on foreigners have added to the sense of unease.

On Friday night, a Swiss tourist was gang-raped while on a cycling holiday in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. Her husband was tied up by the gang who are also accused of stealing a laptop, a mobile phone and 10,000 rupees ($185). On the same night, a group of men in a city near Delhi briefly kidnapped an Indian male executive working for the French engineering giant Alstom.

Other incidents reported since the December bus gang-rape include that of a South Korean student who said she had been raped and drugged by the son of the owner of the hotel where she stayed during a holiday in January. A Chinese woman working in Gurgaon, a town bordering the Indian capital, was also reportedly raped by an acquaintance last month.

Indian officials say there is no need for alarm, pointing out that foreigners are victims of crime the world over and the vast majority of visitors experience no safety problems. But travel advice from a host of countries stresses the need for visitors to take care. An advisory from the Swiss foreign ministry, issued before Friday’s attack, urged men and women visiting India to travel in large groups and with guides. The US State Department’s website warns female travelers to “observe stringent security precautions” and “avoid travelling alone in hired taxis, especially at night”.

Britain’s foreign office updated its advisory for India last week, saying that “women travelers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men”. In a notorious case five years ago, 15-year-old British schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling was raped and left to die on a beach in the tourist resort of Goa.

Jensen, who stands out in an Indian crowd with her blonde hair, recalled how she spent a carefree week backpacking around southern India a decade ago. But now, travelling with her 10-year-old daughter, it is a different story with her husband texting her several times a day to check up on their safety. “There is no question that these stories will have an impact on foreign visitors,” she said. “Women will prefer to visit other places like Singapore or Bali or Thailand, where safety is not such a big concern.” At the Delhi office of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, executive director Gour Kanjilal said it was unfair to portray India as dangerou.


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