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.


Vote count begins for Afghan election

Afghan election observers at a polling center after ballots in the country’s legislative election were counted in Kabul on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 29 min 47 sec ago
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Vote count begins for Afghan election

  • Some candidates said powerful figures were behind election rigging
  • The Electoral Complaints Commission said there was mismanagement during the election, and as of Sunday it had received some 5,000 complaints from voters and candidates

KABUL: Vote counting began on Monday for Afghanistan’s parliamentary election, which was marred by violence and irregularities, with political parties alleging “organized fraud.”

The parties said mismanagement and hundreds of Taliban attacks, which led to an extension of voting for another day at hundreds of polling stations, could raise questions over the election result, which is expected to be released in two months.

Some candidates said powerful figures were behind election rigging, and biometric devices, which were put in place to counter fraud, were smashed to facilitate the rigging. 

Abdul Bade Sayad, head of the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), was cited by local media as confirming incidents of biometric equipment being smashed, and the presence of strongmen inside some polling stations. 

But the IEC should not be held responsible for this, he said, adding: “When the government itself feels helpless before powerful figures, then senior officials of the commission should not be blamed.”

The Electoral Complaints Commission said there was mismanagement during the election, and as of Sunday it had received some 5,000 complaints from voters and candidates.

Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said people could not vote on Saturday in some 1,000 polling stations. 

Ahead of the election, which was delayed for more than three years, the government said it could not open more than 2,000 stations due to security threats.

Alleged irregularities included polling stations opening late, biometric devices malfunctioning, and the absence of IEC staff and voter registration lists.

Of the 9 million people who had registered to vote, nearly 4 million cast their ballot, the IEC said.

The IHRC said the IEC should not shun its responsibility regarding “shortcomings and grave violations in voting centers.”

The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan said: “In some of the polling stations, ballots were not counted; instead the ballot boxes were transferred to a different location for counting… without informing the observers about the new location.”