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Students hold candles as they pray during a candlelight vigil for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi, in Ahmedabad December 31, 2012. Photo by: Reuters

21-year-old Irish aid worker the latest victim of India’s rape and violence epidemic

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Students hold candles as they pray during a candlelight vigil for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi, in Ahmedabad December 31, 2012. Photo by: Reuters

Police in the Indian city of Kolkata have arrested a local businessman, Sujoy Mitra, who is suspected of drugging and raping a 21-year-old Irish charity worker after her birthday party.
 
Officer Subrata Dey told AFP, “We suspect the accused laced the tea with drugs and raped the Irish woman.”

The Irish woman called the police on Saturday and explained that she had been assaulted while in a semi-conscious state having drank a cup of tea at the 35-year-old suspect’s home in Kolkata (Calcuta), in the west Bengal region in the north-east of the country.

The alleged victim, an engineering student who came to India to volunteer with a charity, has been sent to a state-run hospital for medical attention.

The young woman and her alleged attacker met each other last week at a busy market. They decided to party together on Friday night to celebrate the Irish woman’s birthday.

The Press Association reported that “35-year-old Sujoy Mitra had been accused of the attack at the weekend and was remanded in custody until later this week.”

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the woman. Diplomatic staff were notified on Sunday and officials from the Irish embassy in New Delhi are dealing with her case.

This attack is one of many in what’s being described as endemic sex crime.

On Tuesday a 30-year-old American woman reported that she had been gang-raped in the northern Indian resort town of Manali. She told the police she was hitchhiking back to her guest house after visiting friends when three men in a truck picked her up, drove to secluded spot and raped her.

A survey by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India shows the number of foreign women visiting India has dropped by 35 percent due to the multiple sexual attacks that have been making international headlines.

The group say these numbers began to fall following the brutal attack of a 23-year-old Indian student by six men on a bus in New Delhi, in December 2012. The attack which led to the woman’s death brought about international protests against violent sexual crime in India.

In March 2013 a Swiss cyclist was gang raped in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

In January 2013 a Korean tourist was allegedly drugged and raped in the same state by the son of the owner of the hotel where she was staying.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has advised women going to India to exercise caution. Their website says women should not travel alone and should select accommodation carefully.

It states, “Tourists have been the victims of sexual assault in Agra, Goa, Delhi, Bangalore, Madyha Pradesh and Rajasthan. Women travellers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment.

“Women travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India.”

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