MUMBAI: Out on an assignment, a photojournalist in her early 20s was gang-raped by five men in a deserted factory in the heart of the city, evoking comparisons to a similar assault in Delhi in December that led to nationwide protests and a revision of the country's rape laws.
The attack on Thursday evening caused an outcry all over the nation and on social media networks, with many people expressing shock that the incident took place in Mumbai, widely considered to be India's safest city for women.
Lack of women's safety in the country is an issue that has been in the spotlight this year following the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in December, which led thousands to take to the streets in protest.
How the horrific incident took place
The attack took place in an abandoned textile mill in Lower Parel, a former industrial district that is now one of the city's fastest-growing neighbourhoods of luxury apartments, malls and bars.
The victim was on an assignment with a male colleague, doing a story on 'chawl' when the offence took place, police said.
According to the police, between 6 and 6:30 pm the victim, along with her colleague went to Shakti Mill compound, where accused told the girl and her male colleague that they were on railway property and photography was not allowed.
The men then called up and spoke to a person who confirmed that the girl could not enter as she has no permission. They said they would help them with a permit.
The boy was tied up with a belt, he was not beaten. The girl was not beaten either, but was taken inside the compound around 20 feet from where the boy was tied up and raped.
Two of the accused repeatedly raped the girl, turn by turn. Rape took place around 6:00 to 6:30 pm, police came to know of it around 8:30 pm.
The police also confirmed that all the five men who were involved in the incident have been identified and out of them, two people are history-sheeters.
But police refused to name the accused as the case was a sensitive one.
In a statement given to police, the girl said the five goons were present in the Shakti Mills compound. They started making lewd remarks and harassed her. When her friend intervened, two of them assaulted him. Three others took her inside the dilapidated structure and raped her.