American tourist accuses two men of rape in India

NEW DELHI • An American tourist has accused two men of raping her in the popular Himalayan hill station of Dharamsala in northern India.

The 46-year-old told police that she was walking through a crowded market area of the town - known for its large Tibetan community and home to the Dalai Lama - on Tuesday evening when the alleged rape occurred.

The woman, who had been travelling in India for about a month and was alone in Dharamsala, said she passed out after being grabbed by the unidentified men.

Mr Abhishek Dhullar, police superintendent of Kangra district, which includes Dharamsala, yesterday said: "She says that after she woke up, she realised that she had been assaulted... and decided to approach us a day later."

No arrests have been made so far, he added. There were also no immediate details on how the woman passed out or where she was when she came to.

India introduced tougher laws against sex offenders in the wake of the fatal gang rape of a student in New Delhi in December 2012, which sparked mass street protests and international outrage.

But violence against Indian women continues at alarming levels in the world's second-most populous country.

Five men were arrested in January over the alleged gang rape of a Japanese tourist, who was held as a sex slave for nearly a month in the country's east.

Meanwhile, a Saudi diplomat who was accused of repeatedly raping and torturing two Nepali maids in his home outside New Delhi has left the country. The news sparked outrage in India, with activists calling on the United Nations to pressure Riyadh to take up the matter.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup issued a statement on Wednesday, saying Mr Majed Hassan Ashoor, the first secretary at the Saudi embassy, "who is allegedly accused of abusing two Nepali maids, has left India". The diplomat was protected by the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, Mr Swarup said.

The women, aged 30 and 50, told police they were gang raped, assaulted, tortured and starved while being held captive for three months. They also said they were raped by eight men on one occasion. Medical exams showed evidence of rape and sodomy.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2015, with the headline 'American tourist accuses two men of rape in India'. Print Edition | Subscribe