NEW DELHI (AP) — Two suspects arrested in the gang rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist in New Delhi are unemployed young men who allegedly attacked the woman for nearly three hours before fleeing with her belongings, police said Thursday.
The two were picked up late Wednesday from a park near the scene of the crime, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said. Investigators were closing in other suspects after the two provided details during questioning, he said.
Police said the tourist was raped at knifepoint Tuesday near Connaught Place, a popular shopping area in the heart of New Delhi. The woman got lost and approached a group of men for directions back to her hotel. But instead of helping her, the men lured her to a secluded spot and raped her repeatedly, according to police.
One of the suspects was found with the victim’s glasses case and 1,000 rupees ($16) in cash, a police statement said. The other suspect had an iPod and a pair of earphones. He also had a mobile phone that police said was purchased with money stolen from the victim.
(ANALYSIS: India: The making of a rapist)
The problem of sexual violence in India has gained widespread attention since the horrific gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in December 2012. Public fury over the case has led to more stringent laws that doubled prison terms for rape to 20 years and criminalized voyeurism and stalking.
But for many women, daily indignities and abuse continue unabated and the new laws have not made the streets any safer.
Still, there has been a surge in the number of rapes being reported recently, suggesting women are emboldened to speak up. Between January and October last year, 1,330 rapes were reported in Delhi and its suburbs, compared with 706 for all of 2012, according to government figures.
Foreigners also have been targets, including a Swiss woman who was cycling with her husband in central India when she was gang-raped.
The cases threaten India’s lucrative tourism industry. Last year, the Tourism Ministry launched an “I Respect Women” campaign to reassure travelers. Tourism accounted for 6.6 percent of India’s GDP in 2012, the latest year for which figures are available.