7 men gang rape bus passenger in India
By Faith Karimi and Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) — In an incident eerily similar to a sexual assault that sent shock waves worldwide, Indian police say a woman was gang-raped over the weekend by seven men after she boarded a bus at night.
Police arrested six suspects, including the bus driver, after the alleged Friday night attack in Gurdaspur district in Punjab.
A manhunt for the other man was under way Sunday.
Just like a gang rape in New Delhi that sparked international outrage last month, the new attack occurred after the woman got on a bus.
The bus sped past her stop, police said. By that time, the woman was the only passenger.
The bus driver and his helper then took the married 29-year-old woman to an undisclosed address where five others joined the two men and raped her throughout the night, police said.
“They threatened me with a sharp edged weapon and did wrong things with me,” the victim told CNN’s sister station, CNN-IBN. “They kept me confined all through the night and forced me to do what they want.”
The next day, the suspects dropped her off at her village, where she informed her family and alerted police, according to authorities.
The alleged attack bears a similarity to a December 16 gang rape where attackers assaulted a woman after she boarded a bus. The men also brutally beat her and her male companion, robbed them of their belongings and later dumped them by the side of a road.
Both New Delhi and Gurdaspur are in northern India.
The Delhi incident triggered rallies nationwide and an uproar over the treatment of women.
The badly beaten 23-year-old woman was flown to Singapore for treatment after the attack.
She died about two weeks later while undergoing treatment.
Five men were charged with murder, rape and kidnapping, and face the death penalty if convicted. A juvenile court is determining the age of a sixth suspect, who claims to be 17 and not old enough to be tried as an adult.
At the time, the government pledged stronger laws against sexual assaults.
The number of reported rapes in India — a country where a cultural stigma keeps many victims from reporting the crime — has increased drastically, from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011, according to official figures.
Most women in India have stories of sexual harassment and abuse on public transportation or on the streets, said Seema Sirohi, of the Indian Council on Global Relations.
CNN’s Harmeet Shah Singh reported from New Delhi and Faith Karimi from Atlanta