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Tourist ‘drugged and raped’ in India

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New Delhi -

A South Korean student holidaying on her own in India was allegedly drugged and raped by the son of a hotel owner as she visited a tiger reserve in central India, police said on Friday.

The 23-year-old college student has filed a police case saying she was raped on January 14 after returning to the hotel from a safari at the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh state.

“The incident happened in December but she said she did not have the courage to report it right away. She approached us on Thursday and we have registered a case against the accused,” inspector Prakash Kulkarni told AFP.

Kulkarni, a police officer in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra state where the complaint was made, said the case had been transferred to his counterparts in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.

The incident comes on the heels of the brutal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi in December that has triggered an outpouring of criticism of the police and inadequate safety for women in Indian society.

The physiotherapy student died 13 days after the assault, which happened on a bus she had boarded with her boyfriend as they returned home from watching a film in an upmarket shopping mall.

The South Korean woman had come to India last month on a tourist visa, the Times of India newspaper reported.

The paper said the woman had been offered a bottle of beer by the suspect after she returned to the hotel in the evening.

“She said she lost consciousness but woke up in the middle of night to find the suspect sexually assaulting her. She claims she forced him out of the room and locked the door,” it said.

As many as 24 206 rape cases were reported in the country in 2011 although activists warn these statistics are a gross under-representation due to the social stigma attached with such crimes.

Travel advisories by the US and other foreign embassies warn women not to travel alone in India, saying they are “at risk and should exercise vigilance”. - Sapa-AFP


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