British woman stabbed to death on Kashmir houseboat: Police

SRINAGAR, India (AFP) - A British woman holidaying in Indian Kashmir was found dead in a pool of blood on a houseboat on Saturday and a Dutch man has been arrested on suspicion of her murder, police said.

The 43-year-old Dutch national was taken into custody as he tried to flee the scenic Kashmir valley in the foothills of the Himalayas, police superintendent Tahir Sajjad told AFP.

"We walked into a pool of blood in her room," police superintendent Sajjad said. "We found a sharp-edged knife close to her body. The young lady had multiple stab wounds."

The British tourist was believed to be in her early 20s and had been staying in a tourist houseboat on picturesque Dal Lake in the Indian Kashmir city of Srinagar for two months, police said.

Officers were investigating whether the victim had been sexually assaulted.

"The suspect has been taken into custody on suspicion of murder and we are questioning him," superintendent Sajjad said.

Police did not immediately disclose the identity of the woman or that of the Dutch national.

The alleged attacker, who was staying in the same houseboat as the victim, smashed the latch door to her room during the night.

Afterwards, the suspect took a small boat to get to shore and then fled with just his passport, police said.

Officers captured a man on a highway some 75km from Srinagar.

The woman's death is the latest in a string of attacks on tourists travelling in India.

Last month, a 39-year-old Swiss cyclist was allegedly gangraped and robbed by six men in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Also last month, a British woman dental hygienist suffered leg injuries when she jumped from a hotel balcony in the northern tourist city of Agra, fearing a sexual assault by hotel employees.

The safety of women in India has been in the spotlight since the December fatal gangrape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a bus in Delhi, which sparked nationwide outrage.