World News‎ > ‎

British Woman Jumps From Hotel Fearing Attack

posted 19 Mar 2013, 11:20 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 19 Mar 2013, 11:22 ]

Indian police register a case of sexual attack after a British woman jumps from the balcony of her hotel room, fearing an attack after persistent knocking at her door.

AGRAUTTAR PRADESHINDIA (MARCH 19, 2013) (ANI) - A British tourist jumped off from the balcony of her hotel fearing an attack by the hotel owner after he persistently knocked at her door, police said on Tuesday (March 19).

The woman was staying at a hotel in Agra, home to the famous Taj Mahal monument.

According to police, the incident happened around 4.00 am (IST) when the hotel owner, Sachin Chauhan, kept pursuing her for an oil massage.

The woman, 30, jumped out of the balcony out of fear after Chauhan was joined by his security guard in knocking at the door. She sustained injuries to her legs.

"The accused allegedly knocked her room at 3.45 am (IST) last morning and told her about their scheme of free oil massage. The woman says she refused it and he repeatedly insisted on her using it. The woman refused and closed the door. She says that he kept on knocking the door for a long time afterwards and then later he also called his security guard and both of them began to knock the door," senior superintendent of police Subhash Chandra Dubey said.

"The woman jumped from the balcony to the storey below and from there escaped and then came over and lodged a complaint at the police station," Dubey said.

Chauhan has been booked under section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of Indian Penal, police said.

"Police has registered a case of sexual assault under section 354 of the IPC against the accused and the hotel owner, Sachin Chauhan. Along with the IPC section, other relevant sections will also be added to the charges. For now, the accused, hotel owner, has been arrested," said Dubey.

India's tourism minister K Chiranjeevi has ordered the suspension of the three-star rating of the hotel. The ministry has also issued a notice to the hotel, asking it why its license should not be cancelled.

The latest incident came on a day when the lower house of Indian parliamentpassed an anti-rape bill nearly three months after a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was attacked in a moving bus in a case that sparked outrage in the country. She died later in hospital in Singapore.

On March 15, a Swiss tourist was allegedly raped by several men while she was camping with her husband in an Indian forest in central Madhya Pradesh state.

The British High Commission authorities condemned the Agra incident.

"If it is the case then obviously it is very sad. One of our responsibilities from the foreign office is clearly to look after and protect the British people when they are travelling overseas. So if that has happened then it is very sad," said Peter Beckingham, deputy high commissioner for the British High Commission inwestern India.

India's National Commission for Women (NCW) called the incident shameful.

"On the one hand, we want foreign tourists to come because of the investments, as many people are involved in this business. This is a very shameful incident. But I also commend the woman's courage that she took this brave step to save herself," said NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma.

Many of the crimes against women are in India's heavily-populated northern plains, where, in parts, there is a deep-rooted mindset that women are inferior and must be restricted to being homemakers and child bearers.

Violence against women has a level of social acceptability in India. A government survey found 51 percent of Indian men and 54 percent of women justified wife beating.

India has robust gender laws, but they are hardly enforced, partly because a feudal mindset is as prevalent among bureaucrats, magistrates and the police as it is elsewhere. Politicians are also unwilling to crack down on customary biases against women for fear of losing conservative votes.