Delhi journalists protest Mumbai gang-rape

New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Journalists in the national capital Friday condemned the gang-rape of a young woman photojournalist by five men in Mumbai Thursday and demanded quick action against the perpetrators.

Journalists belonging to the Press Club of India (PCI) and the Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC) protested against the incident.

Around 100 journalists gathered outside the PCI Friday evening, shouted slogans and waved placards demanding the arrest of the perpetrators of the Mumbai gang-rape, said PCI general secretary Anil Anand.

"The society will also have to think about its role. Only the police can't curb such crimes," said Anand.

"It is with a growing sense of outrage that the IWPC, a professional body of 600 women journalists based in the capital, urges authorities to take immediate and stringent action against the perpetrators of this brutal assault. We would also like to emphasise the need for the government to provide a secure environment for women on a priority basis," said a statement issued by its president Mannika Chopra.

Accompanied by a male colleague, the photojournalist was on an assignment to photograph Mumbai's old textile mills, where she was assaulted and raped while her colleague was tied up.

"Ironically, Mumbai has long been considered to be one of the safest cities for the working woman," said the statement.

According to the IWPC, the incident brings back memories of the national outrage that was sparked by the rape of a young woman in Delhi last December.

"It has also been over a year when Tongam Rina was shot at in Manipur's capital Imphal, yet her assailants have still not been brought to justice. Concerns about safety and security limit any woman's mobility and activities. Such heinous acts are a violation of the freedom of women, of their movement in their workplace and personal space," said the statement.

"As more and more women join the media workforce, it behoves the administration and media organisations to ensure that women media practitioners feel safe as they carry out their professional duties. Women are commonly threatened and attacked for the work they do. Such attacks range from sexual assault and rape to cyber-bullying to emotional harassment," said Aruna Singh, general secretary of IWPC.

"Often such crimes go unvoiced because of cultural and professional reasons. But in cases where the attacks are in the public domain, authorities need to take immediate action. Though police have identified five men from the area in connection with the gang-rape, we hope that the authorities will ensure timely justice for a young journalist setting out on her career," she added.

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