Russian tourist allegedly gang-raped in India

A protester stands with a placard during a protest against rape near the Indian parliament in New Delhi on April 2018. (AP)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Russian tourist allegedly gang-raped in India

NEW DELHI: Indian police were holding six men on Thursday after a Russian tourist was allegedly drugged and gang-raped in a popular southern tourist town, officials said.
Media reports said the 21-year-old had bite marks on her face and arms when she was found naked and unconscious on the floor of her hostel room early on Monday.
“Six men have been detained over the rape and drugging of the woman,” investigating officer Mangayar Karasi said.
The woman, who was traveling on her own, had arrived in the town of Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu state, 190 kilometers from Chennai, last Thursday.
Those in custody included the hostel manger and her tourist guide, who told police he found her on the floor hours after they had consensual sex, another investigator said.
She said the woman was being treated in hospital for a drug overdose and minor injuries, with efforts being made to record her statement.
The medical report has confirmed sexual assault, the officer said.
Local and foreign tourists flock to Tiruvannamalai for its 9th-century Annamalaiyar Temple, one of the largest Hindu temple complexes spread over 10 hectares (25 acres).
Sexual violence is rife in India with nearly 110 rapes reported every day but activists say that figure is the tip of the iceberg as most cases go unreported.
Several foreign tourists have been sexually assaulted in India in recent months.
Last month a Japanese tourist was raped by a taxi driver in a north Indian town, followed by the rape of a 20-year-old Canadian tourist by her guest house owner in Delhi.
India’s junior interior minister Wednesday told the national parliament that 110,333 rape cases were reported in the country between 2014 and 2016.
The country’s dire record on sexual violence has been in the global spotlight since the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a woman on a New Delhi bus sparked angry protests.
The incident led to tougher sentences and reforms in the country’s rape laws but sexual crime against women, as well as against minors, remain rampant.


More than a million people in India flood relief camps

Updated 1 min 40 sec ago
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More than a million people in India flood relief camps

  • About 50,000 homes have been destroyed, according to one Kerala legislator
  • Millions of dollars in donations have poured into Kerala from the rest of India and abroad
CHENGANNUR, India: More than one million people have packed relief camps to escape devastating monsoon floods that have killed more than 410 people in India’s southwestern state of Kerala, officials said Tuesday.
About 50,000 homes have been destroyed, according to one Kerala legislator, and people are flocking to the camps as the scale of the desolation is revealed by receding waters.
A total of 1,028,000 people were now recorded in about 3,200 relief camps across the state, a state government spokesman said.
Six more bodies were found Monday, he added, taking the toll to more than 410 since the monsoon started in June.
At Chengannur, one of the worst-hit towns, more than 60 centimeters (two feet) of water still blocked many roads as more rain fell Tuesday.
Army teams said several thousand people in the town remained in homes inundated by 10 days of torrential downpours that have battered the state.
Rescue teams in Chengannur on Tuesday finally reached the house of retired army officer K.G. Pillai, who said up to 2.4 meters (eight feet) of water had engulfed the house where his family had lived since 1952.
“In the past there has never been more than one foot of floods and people are not used to this,” he said.
Many roads and homes around Pillai’s house remained inaccessible.
“Around 26 people moved into the first floor of our home” to take refuge from the floods, he said.
A senior army officer involved in the rescue operation in Chengannur said authorities believed most of the people left in town did not want to be evacuated and were instead seeking food and water.
“We received a distress call late yesterday to rescue a disabled child and will be going in today on boats to check if there are others who need assistance,” he said.
Thousands of army, navy and air force personnel have fanned out across the state to help those stranded in remote and hilly areas.
Dozens of helicopters and even drones have been dropping food, medicine and water to cut-off villages.
Tens of thousands of people in Chengannur and surrounding towns and villages are relying on community kitchens for meals, after water from hilly districts in Kerala’s north poured down into lowland regions.
“People have lost all or most of their belongings in the last few days,” the officer said.
Shashi Tharoor, a deputy from Kerala and former UN official, estimated that 50,000 houses had been destroyed. He said he would seek possible UN assistance in relief efforts during a trip to Geneva this week.
Millions of dollars in donations have poured into the state from the rest of India and abroad since the extent of the devastation became known.
Supreme Court judges have donated $360 each while the British-based Sikh group Khalsa Aid International has set up its own relief camp in Kochi, Kerala’s main city, to provide 3,000 meals a day.