Police say a 22-year-old photographer was raped in this abandoned textile mill. (AP/Rafiq Maqbool)
Police say a 22-year-old photographer was raped in this abandoned textile mill. (AP/Rafiq Maqbool)

Indian journalist raped while on assignment

New York, August 23, 2013–Indian authorities must conduct a thorough and efficient investigation into the rape of a photographer in Mumbai on Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

“It is appalling that a young woman working in the heart of Mumbai was attacked in this manner,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “We call on Indian authorities to investigate this attack with the utmost urgency and sensitivity, and hold the attackers accountable.”

Police said that the photographer, an intern for a lifestyle magazine, was raped by five men while she was in a textile mill to photograph old buildings for a feature article, according to The Associated Press and other news reports. The attack took place in Mumbai’s Lower Parel area, a neighborhood where upscale malls and restaurants are located in the same vicinity as slums and old abandoned textile mills, reports said.

News reports said the assailants approached the photographer and told her to get permission from the mill’s supervisor to take photographs. The men then tied up and beat an unidentified individual who had accompanied the journalist on her assignment. The assailants took turns raping the photographer in a secluded part of the mill, Mumbai’s police commissioner, Satyapal Singh, told reporters. The assailants fled the scene after the attack.

The photographer sought treatment at a local hospital for unspecified internal injuries, reports said. She is now in stable condition, reports said.

The Press Club of Mumbai released a statement today condemning the attack and calling on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said police had arrested one man, Agence France-Presse reported. The man in custody has identified four other men, news reports said.

The attack follows the fatal gang-rape of a student in Delhi, which drew widespread protests across India and led to policymakers passing stricter legislation that addresses rape.

CPJ’s special report, The silencing crime: Sexual violence and journalists, documents cases of journalists that have come forward to say they have been sexually abused during the course of their work.

  • For more data and analysis on India, visit CPJ’s India page here.