‘I was raped and beaten... now only justice can heal me’ Maha demand for tiger skin soared this yr UNDER THREAT
People attend the midnight mass on Christmas eve at Don Bosco Church in Matunga on Saturday.
Coming to India was a childhood dream for her. But eight months after her first visit, a 25-year-old woman from Pennsylvania in the United States is back in New Delhi – this time to fight for justice. In an interview with HT, the woman, described in the media in recent weeks as “the American tourist”, has alleged that she was raped, drugged and physically assaulted in a five-star hotel in the Capital on two consecutive days this April. She also said she feared the police weren’t doing enoughtocatchherallegedrapists.
“I came to India on a tour. In the hotel… I was sexually assaulted by three members of the tour group and two members of the hotel staff. I was drugged during that time. I was physically assaulted and sexually assaulted,” she said. “I am still afraid… afraid of being alone in India.” The woman, who flew in on December 19 to join the investigation, had filed a complaint on email to Delhi Police through a US-based NGO on October 5.
She blamed two hotel employees, and a conductor, a driver and a guide from the tour agency for thecrime. Acaseof gangrapewas registered on December 3. Police are questioning three suspects, but no arrests have been made so far.
“They may be sincere but I don’t think the police are doing enough… I am definitely worried that I may not get justice. I am not naive to the situation. I have come this far… finding justice is a sense of healing for me.” Over the past week, her statement has been recorded in front of a magistrate and she had undergone a medical examination. The woman said her trauma has been unbearable. “There is a lot of emotional trauma I suffer, and probably I will for the rest of my life,” she said. “I (want to) try to do everything I can in this situation and keep other women from being victims of these people.”
Star tortoises, parakeets and spotted black terrapin turtles topped the list of animals traded illegally from Mumbai to different parts of the country this year, a report stated. The list of mosttraded animal parts included pangolin scales, elephant ivory and tiger skin.
In a first, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), western region, released an annual report highlighting the top six illegally traded wildlife species from Mumbai and Maharashtra in 2016. The seizures were made by the WCCB along with the state forest department and the police. These animals are protected under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, except the star tortoise, which is protected under Schedule IV of the same act.
“Our bureau collated reports from different districts in Maharashtra and put the list together. The idea is to increase awareness about this kind of illegal trade, which is prevalent not only in India, but abroad as well,” said M Maranko, regional director, western region, WCCB. “Since there was lack of data from previous years, a comparative analysis could not be provided. However, the cognisance and enforcement to stop such activities has increased now.”
Maranko said nine cases of star tortoise trade from Mumbai were reported this year. All accused have been arrested and convicted for three years under WPA. A major case: On October 14, Mumbai Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officers intercepted two men with United Arab Emirates (UAE) passports carrying 199 endangered tortoises and turtles in four checked-in bags.
With parakeets, there have been six cases of trade of Alexandrian parakeets from Mumbai this year and a few others cases of Sun parakeets and Eastern Rosella from different parts of the state.
Four cases were observed for the spotted black terrapin turtles, which are in high demand across South-east Asian countries as food and are also used as a fengshui symbol.
Some of the other striking cases this year included the seizure of one pangolin scale (sold in the international market for Rs3-8 lakh per scale) from Dapoli in April, tiger skins (worth Rs510 lakh) from Gondia district, Nagpur division in October and Telengana in November, both skins had been transported from Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra.