A 22-year-old women working on assignment in Mumbai was gang raped Thursday by five men in an abandoned textile mill. Her male colleague was tied up and beaten, police said Friday.
The unidentified woman was there to take pictures of old buildings, when five men approached her and her colleague around 6 p.m. The men offered to help her get permission to shoot inside a building, then they became aggressive.
Taken to Jaslok hospital, the woman is in stable condition after an attack that is reminiscent of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman that took place on a city bus in New Delhi in December.
“The woman, who is around 22 years old, had gone inside the Shakti Mills compound at about 6pm along with a young man who was carrying the cameras," said Mumbai's police commissioner Satyapal Singh. "Five men who were inside the derelict textile mill first accused the woman's companion of being wanted for a murder, tied him up with a belt, then took the woman aside and took turns raping her."
Police did not say who the woman was working for at the time of the attack.
"Like every woman in Mumbai, I have held on desperately to the hope that women are safe in this city," wrote journalist Deepanjana Pal. "Yesterday, that faith was brutally violated."
"Mumbai's famous textile mill area was once one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, with men and women working together," said Kavita Krishnan, a women's activist. "It's sad that this has happened now."
“Mumbai was always safe for women, but in recent years the emphasis of the police and the home department has shifted from protecting women to restricting women's freedom," said Krishnan.
She believes the focus of authorities in Mumbai has become “moral policing” rather than physical protection.
"Mumbai will feel safe for women again only if police focus on protecting us, not restricting us," she said.
Just last Sunday an American woman was mugged on a local train in Mumbai’s business district. Last month, there was an acid attack on a woman in the suburbs.