An Indian photojournalist in her early twenties was gang-raped by five men in an abandoned mill in Mumbai late Thursday, according to BBC News.
Outcry is growing over the attack, which came months after a young woman was similarly targeted on a bus in New Delhi, in a case that drew international condemnation.
According to The Times of India, opposition parties are already calling for the resignation of RR Patil, the home minister of Maharashtra state of which Mumbai is the capital, over the affair.
Patil has visited the victim at the local hospital, where she is said to be in stable condition.
The government released images of the five men believed responsible for the attack and has reportedly arrested them. The Telegraph said as many as 20 people had been detained in connection with the case.
“We have taken the incident very seriously,” Patil said, according to The Times of India, adding: “No one will be allowed to spoil the law and order situation [in Mumbai].”
The city was considered one of the safer havens for women in India, according to the Associated Press.
The attack took place while the young woman, said to be a 22- or 23-year-old photography intern, was on assignment for a lifestyle magazine on Thursday evening. She was accompanied by a male colleague and the two were shooting in the abandoned Shakti Mills, located in a gentrifying former industrial area of Mumbai, according to reports.
Indian police commissioner Satyapal Singh told a local television station that several men approached while they were working, reported the Guardian.
The Times of India said an argument broke out when the men accused the two photographers of trespassing. “They first bashed up the [male] colleague and, while two of them pinned him down, the remaining three took the girl to a corner and then raped her,” the paper said. The men then abandoned the young woman and her colleague.
She was taken to a hospital and her friends and family filed a police complaint.
This latest violence sends a “dire message” to Indian women working in public, local women’s rights activist Nilanjana Roy told the Guardian.
“Thinking of that photographer, on her first job, with rape thrown in as a consequence of going out to work … this cannot be our ‘normal,’” she said.
After the Delhi gang rape case in December, a new bill to better protect women was put forth, but Roy said it had lost momentum.
According to India’s NDTV, the Mumbai case is being investigated by nine special police teams as well as in a separate criminal probe.
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