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Three in Indian court for rape of US tourist

Nepalese men refuse to take part in identity parade

Ritu Sharma, New Delhi

June 7, 2013

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Three Nepalese men accused of gang raping an American woman in the northern hill town of Manali appeared in court on Friday.

The men, identified as Arjun and Lakki, who both go by only one name, and Som Bahadur Tamang, declined to take part in an identification parade, said Vinod Dhawan, the police superintendent in Kullu District where Manali is located.

“The court accepted their request but said that this would go against them. Our case is strong,” he said.

The three men are accused of gang raping a 30-year-old American woman after she accepted a lift in their truck on Tuesday evening when she was unable to find a taxi on the outskirts of Manali. The attack took place in an isolated area and lasted more than an hour, according to her testimony to police.

The men were also accused of stealing her Nokia cell phone, money, a flashlight and travel documents, police said on Wednesday.

A police statement on Thursday said that the mobile and flashlight were found with the suspect Arjun.

Police tracked the use of mobile phones around the time of the attack which then helped them to make the arrests, said another statement by Dhawan.

The victim had provided vital information about the truck and location of the attack which “helped us recover the vehicle and nab the trio,” added Dhawan.

Two of the accused were arrested in Patilkuhal near Manali while the third was tracked down in Mandi, a larger town 110 kms to the south.

The case is the latest in a series of high profile rape incidents in India involving both foreigners and Indian women.

In March, a Swiss woman was gang raped by five men while camping with her partner in central Madhya Pradesh. In the same month a British woman jumped from her hotel window in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, to escape a sex attack by the proprietor.

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