Dur­ban woman’s In­dia ‘rape’ hell

Post - - FRONT PAGE - CHAR­LENE SOMDUTH

A PIL­GRIM­AGE to a tem­ple in Vrind­ha­van, In­dia, to give thanks for her re­cent grad­u­a­tion turned to hell for a young Dur­ban woman af­ter she was al­legedly ganged raped at a beauty par­lour in Mathura, a city in Ut­tar Pradesh.

The woman, 20, who is from Phoenix, re­turned home on Sun­day night, a week af­ter the al­leged in­ci­dent.

The po­lit­i­cal coun­sel­lor from the South African Em­bassy in New Delhi, ME Van Rens­burg, said only that the mat­ter was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports from Indo-Asian News (IANS), the woman was lured to a mas­sage par­lour in the Dampier Na­gar in Mathura, with the prom­ise of hav­ing a body mas­sage.

It is al­leged that the woman’s drink was spiked and she was raped by the car driver who took her to Mathura and by his friend.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the woman had opened charges of rape against the two sus­pects, who were ar­rested.

How­ever, she with­drew the charges be­cause she was be­ing hounded by the me­dia.

Ac­cord­ing to a lo­cal source who knows the woman, she left for In­dia with a friend and an el­derly cou­ple, who acted as their chap­er­one, early last week.

They were stay­ing at a guest house in Vrin­da­van, close to the tem­ple, so they could at­tend daily prayers. The source claimed that on the day of the al­leged rape, the two young women did not ac­com­pany the el­derly cou­ple to the tem­ple. They said they were feel­ing un­well and would re­main at the guest house.

Af­ter the cou­ple had left, the vic­tim told her friend they should take a car to Mathura.

The friend ap­par­ently re­fused, say­ing she was tired and did not want to leave with­out in­form­ing their chap­er­ones. The woman left on her own.

“When the cou­ple re­turned they en­quired about the young woman’s where­abouts. They called her on cell­phone, but there was no answer. They be­gan pan­ick­ing as it was get­ting late,” said the source.

The young woman re­turned to the guest house late that night, cry­ing and clearly shaken. She told her friend and the cou­ple that she had been raped by the car driver and his friend, the source added. The cou­ple took her to the nearby po­lice sta­tion and a case of rape was reg­is­tered.

She was then taken to a pri­vate hospi­tal for an ex­am­i­na­tion, but was trans­ferred to a pub­lic hospi­tal for an ex­am­i­na­tion by a district sur­geon.

The source claimed that on the way to the hospi­tal, the woman was bom­barded by the me­dia.

“They were try­ing to take her pic­tures and this left her trau­ma­tised and she de­cided to with­draw the charges against her at­tack­ers. In the mean­time, her par­ents and fam­ily ral­lied to buy her a re­turn ticket home.”

Pres­i­dent of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha Ash­win Trikam­jee said tourists, es­pe­cially women, needed to be care­ful and not gullible.

“Women must not go out alone and al­ways stay in groups. They must not be­friend any­one, be it men or women.”

Kr­sangi Radhe dasi, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager and head of the Womens Min­istry at ISKCON-SA, said they did not con­done any form of vi­o­lence.

“We have a deep-rooted value sys­tem, with ahimsa (mean­ing non-vi­o­lence) as an im­por­tant part of our be­liefs. We are also dis­tressed that such a crime can be com­mit­ted in a holy place. This shows the degra­da­tion of so­ci­ety.”

She said the or­gan­i­sa­tion also un­der­stood the im­por­tant role women played within the com­mu­nity and formed a women’s min­istry in South Africa which falls un­der our In­ter­na­tional Women’s Min­istry.

“Re­cently, a spe­cial prayer ser­vice was ded­i­cated to non-vi­o­lence and the zero tol­er­ance stance that ISKCON takes against women abuse – this as a part of our pledge to ed­u­cate both women and men within the 16 Days of Ac­tivism cam­paign.”

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