India reels after young photojournalist is gang-raped

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Mumbai police sketches of rape assailants in raped photojournalist case
This police sketch outlines descriptions of the suspects made by the survivors in the gang-rape of a 22-year-old female photojournalist. Image: GMP

(WNN) Mumbai, INDIA, SOUTH ASIA: As India puts a microscope on issues of violence against women, the nation is reeling after another sexual attack has resulted in the gang-rape of a 22-year-old journalist who’s name has not been released to the public on Thursday August 22.

On assignment for a magazine to cover the history of the cotton mills in what was, in its day known as the bustling cotton industry of Bombay, the photojournalist and her male news colleague got off at the Mahalaxmi train station of Mumbai in a process to get images for their story. They didn’t know at the time what danger would face them ahead as they went into the large compound that once housed the Shakti Textile Mills.  

The building where the cotton textile company was located is completely dilapidated today, with sections that have decayed to the point of danger for those who explore the structure that once housed the Mill.

“This mill where my father worked, and we used to visit as kids in [the] 1970s, was a mighty Gothic building but now in ruins…,” outlined an anonymous comment placed on Google India’s Wikimapia.

While the nearby adjacent area in Mumbai is occupied by new business offices, cafes, shops and luxury high-rise condos, the area surrounding the Mill seems trapped in time, haunted by decades of natural fauna and growth.

Entering the building to take photographs for their story at approximately 6:00 in the evening on Thursday the 22-year-old photojournalist with her male colleague who was also carrying a camera have conveyed, according to police reports, they were approached by two men at the Shakti Mill Compound. After the male colleague was accused by the men of being the murderer of a reported murder death at the Compound, he was tied up and beaten as the photojournalist was taken into a separate section of the Mill where three other men joined the two men in an area where no one could hear her cries for help.

Following the alleged gang-rape incident the photojournalist and her colleague managed to get to Jaslok hospital three miles away. The hospital then immediately contacted the Mumbai police. As police moved into the Shakti Mill Compound they began their search for alleged suspects. One man was arrested today, but the other four men described in the rape crime are still at large in Mumbai.

“One accused has been arrested and four others have been identified…The man we have arrested has confessed to the crime, the rape took place at 06:30 pm,” outlined Satyapal Singh, Commissioner of Police in Mumbai in a series of statements made to the press today as the facts were presented.

Sustaining what police reports say are multiple internal injuries that have required medical intervention and surgery, the unnamed photojournalist is said to now be in stable condition.

“We made the sketches of the accused last night itself and that helped in the identification…More than 20 teams are hunting for [the] other four accused…We request [the] government to send this case to a fast-track court,” added the police Commissioner.

Women in India have suffered under a rising number of sexual assault crimes since a 23-year-old woman whose bus gang-rape sparked nationwide protests in 2012. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay spoke candidly on the problem in December 2012 saying, “What is needed is a new public consciousness and more effective and sensitive enforcement of the law in the interests of women.”

“The public is demanding a transformation in systems that discriminate against women to a culture that respects the dignity of women in law and practice…However terrible the crime, the death penalty is not the answer,” continued Pillay.

Protests against rape violence have now begun to hit the streets of Mumbai as the ‘Working News Cameramen’s Association’ have added their public statement on the recent event.

“WNCA stands in solidarity with the victim and calls for society to resolve to make country safer for women and girls in their homes and outside,” said the press association who went on to say that they want to continue to encourage women to jump into becoming photojournalists.

The Shakti Mills Compound is an area that is inhabited by numerous drug addicts, describes many of the media reports coming out of India today. Along with the recent rape violence online comment forums inside India include some racist remarks in reference to mentions that the suspects may not be Indians but Bangladeshis.


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