Indian police arrest one for killing baby, raping mother

An Indian social activist holding placards during a protest against a rape at Hauz Khas village in New Delhi on Feb 21, 2017.
An Indian social activist holding placards during a protest against a rape at Hauz Khas village in New Delhi on Feb 21, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian police said on Wednesday (June 7) they have arrested one of three men accused of gang-raping a woman and tossing her baby from a moving autorickshaw, killing the infant.

Police released sketches of the three men - including the autorickshaw driver - late Tuesday after registering a case of murder and gang-rape following the alleged attack last month in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi.

"We have made one arrest, yes. As far as the two others are concerned, a team is after them and we will arrest them very soon," Gurgaon's commissioner of police Sandeep Khirwar told AFP.

In her complaint to police, the woman said she got into the autorickshaw with her nine-month-old daughter around midnight on May 29 to go to her parents' home in Gurgaon in northern Haryana state.

There were two men already in the rickshaw who started to harass her as soon as she got in and the three sexually assaulted her for several hours before dumping her by a roadside, according to her complaint.

After being released from her ordeal the woman went back to look for her baby, who had died of head injuries, and took her to hospital on the subway, Khirwar said.

India has a gruesome record on rape, with the capital New Delhi alone registering 2,199 rape cases in 2015 - an average of six a day, according to most recent official figures.

Nearly 40,000 rape cases are reported every year but the real number is thought to be much higher, with victims wary of how their complaints will be dealt with or the social stigma attached to sex crimes.

India strengthened its laws on sexual violence after the fatal gang rape of a Delhi student in 2012 caused global outrage, but attacks on women are still widespread.

In a separate case, an Indian court on Wednesday granted bail to four men accused of raping and drugging an American tourist at a New Delhi hotel, the Press Trust of India reported.

A judge said the four accused could no longer contribute to the police investigation and served no purpose in custody, PTI reported. They have been ordered not to leave the country.

The victim told police she was part of a tour group visiting India in April last year when her local guide gave her a spiked bottle of water and raped her with acquaintances inside her hotel room.

Four men were later charged with her rape.

The woman returned to New Delhi in December to record her testimony in court and identify the suspects.

She told investigators she had no memory of the assault for nearly three months after she returned from India.

"The first two nights I was drugged, physically assaulted and sexually assaulted," she told an Indian news network at the time.

"I had no memory of what happened to me while I was in India. I regained my memory three months later around the end of July and that's when I took action," she said.

The tour guide, a driver, a cleaner and a hotel employee were arrested after police received her formal complaint through an American charity.

Early last year, a German tourist accused two men of taking her captive and raping her in southern India. A 35-year-old Japanese tourist was also raped in India last December.