Danish woman gang-raped in Indian capital Delhi

The woman was staying in Delhi's backpacker district when she lost her way, as Andrew North reports

Police in the Indian capital Delhi are investigating the alleged gang rape of a Danish woman who lost her way near her city centre hotel.

The 51-year-old tourist was attacked by a group of men in the Paharganj area on Tuesday evening. Police say she was robbed and raped at knife point.

A German woman has also been raped in south India, Der Spiegel reports.

Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.

It's hard to imagine a worse headline for India's image abroad, after the battering it has taken over the issue of rape.

After the fatal assault on a Delhi student just over a year ago, the city has earned the unwelcome title "India's rape capital". The picture is not as bad as the media paints, Indian officials say. Other countries also have a rape problem, they protest.

But ever since the Delhi gang-rape case, the safety of women and the discrimination they suffer in Indian society has been in the spotlight. The Indian media just as much as the foreign media are giving the issue much more space.

And while the case involving the Danish woman is getting priority attention from the Delhi police, many say what's still needed is the justice system and Indian society in general to take the issue more seriously.

The government tightened laws on sexual violence last year after widespread protests following the attack.

But violence and discrimination against women remain deeply entrenched in India's staunchly patriarchal society.

The Danish woman told police that she approached the group of men after losing her way back to her hotel near New Delhi Railway Station.

The men robbed her of her belongings and raped her, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told the BBC.

"She reached her hotel and reported the incident to the manager who called in the police and the investigation is now under way," Mr Bhagat said.

The woman flew out of India on Wednesday morning, police say.

No arrests have been made yet, but police are questioning a number of men in connection with the attack.

The Danish woman is believed to have been travelling alone and had been in Delhi since Monday after visiting the Taj Mahal, the BBC's Andrew North in Delhi reports.

Police say she gave a detailed statement in the presence of the Danish ambassador before leaving the country, AFP news agency reports. There was no immediate comment from the Danish embassy in Delhi.

Paharganj, a busy backpacker district frequented by foreign tourists, is located in the heart of the Indian capital, not far from Connaught Place.

An 18-year-old German woman was reportedly raped by a man sharing her compartment on a train travelling from Mangalore to Chennai in southern India on Friday.

A man, described as a migrant worker from Bihar state, was arrested on Tuesday, Der Spiegel newspaper reported.

Last March a Swiss tourist was gang raped and her partner attacked by a group of men in Madhya Pradesh state. Six men were jailed for life for the attack in July.

Since the December 2012 Delhi gang rape, the nation has been shocked by a string of brutal rapes of Indian women.

They include a photojournalist raped in broad daylight in central Mumbai, a 21-year-old woman raped by two apparently unrelated groups of men on Christmas Eve in Pondicherry and a 16-year-old girl who died after being gang-raped twice and then set on fire in the eastern city of Calcutta.

Although cases involving foreigners continue to get far more attention in the media and from the police, Indian women who are raped are still far less likely to receive justice, our correspondent says.

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