Businessman held in India over rape of US charity worker

KOLKATA (AFP) - Police in eastern India have arrested a local businessman for allegedly raping a US charity worker, an official said on Friday, as anger grows over the high incidence of sexual crime in the country.

"Dinesh Burman, 40, was arrested on Thursday after an American woman lodged a complaint with police," said Mr Kaliappan Jayaraman, the police commissioner of Siliguri town, in West Bengal state, where the crime allegedly occurred.

The US national, in her 50s, said Burman, a land broker and businessman, raped her on April 15 and threatened her with violence if she approached the police, Mr Jayaraman told AFP over the telephone.

Siliguri, which lies in the foothills of the Himalayas, is located 460 km north of state capital Kolkata.

Protests have raged across India following the fatal gang-rape of a medical student on a moving bus in the capital New Delhi last December, which provoked thousands of people to take to the streets in anger.

The abduction and serial rape of a five-year-old girl in New Delhi last week further fueled public fury, prompting Indian premier Manmohan Singh to demand a collective effort to "root out this sort of depravity from our society".

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