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Two more suspects arrested in Indian rape case

August 24, 2013|By Mark Magnier
  • Indian journalists in Ahmedabad stage a protest Saturday against the gang rape of a female colleague in Mumbai.
Indian journalists in Ahmedabad stage a protest Saturday against the gang… (Sam Panthaky / Agence France-Presse/Getty…)

NEW DELHI -- Police arrested two more suspects Saturday in the rape of a 22-year-old photojournalist in Mumbai, according to police and local media, in a case that has unnerved India and drawn parallels with an attack in December that led to tougher laws and nationwide protests.

According to media reports, a suspect named Vijay Jadhav, 19, was arrested early Saturday morning after being found hiding at a friend’s video shop in south Mumbai. Local news reports, citing police sources, reported that another suspect, Siraj Rehman, 25, was arrested late Saturday, without revealing details.

The news followed the reported arrest Friday of suspect Chand Shaikh, who also used the alias Mohammed Abdul. Police said he was also 19, but his family has claimed he’s a minor and did not commit the crime.

"The probe is heading in the right direction, and we hope to arrest all other absconding accused soon," city police commissioner Satyapal Singh told reporters.

The victim, an intern at a lifestyle magazine, was photographing an abandoned mill with a male companion for an assignment Thursday about 6:30 p.m. when she was allegedly accosted by two men who called three friends, tied up and beat her male companion and raped her repeatedly. Mumbai is usually considered one of India’s safest cities for women.

The hospital where she was being treated said Saturday in a statement that her condition was improving.

Local media, citing police and other official sources, have reported more details of the case. The Mumbai Mid Day newspaper said Saturday that it obtained a portion of the victim's statement to police.

“They took my photographs on their cellphones and threatened that if I spoke about the incident to anyone, they would defame me by revealing my identity,” the newspaper said she told authorities.

And the Times of India quoted what it said was part of the victim’s statement from her hospital bed.

"I want no other woman in this city and country to go through such brutal physical humiliation," the victim reportedly said. "The perpetrators should be punished severely, as they have ruined my life."

The accounts could not be independently verified. Revealing the identity of rape victims is against the law in India.

Media reports also said her alleged attackers threatened her with a beer bottle as they raped her. The attack took place in a former industrial area that is now one of Mumbai’s fastest-growing neighborhoods.

Hundreds of people have staged protests across India’s financial capital, and many people nationwide have taken to social media to voice their anger that another such attack had been allowed to happen.

The latest attack follows the brutal gang rape of a physiotherapy student in a bus in New Delhi in December that sparked tough laws, including the death penalty for gang rape, new fast-track courts for rape cases and spirited demonstrations. The victim of that attack died of her injuries.

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mark.magnier@latimes.com

Twitter: @markmagnier

Tanvi Sharma in the Times' New Delhi bureau contributed to this report.

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