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Police say female photographer, 23, gang-raped in Mumbai

From Neha Sharma, for CNN
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Fri August 23, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police arrest a suspect in the alleged gang rape of a female photographer
  • Police say the photographer was attacked in a deserted area of Mumbai
  • She and a male colleague were approached by a group of men
  • India has seen multiple high-profile sexual violence cases since a New Delhi gang rape

New Delhi (CNN) -- Police have arrested one man and identified others in the alleged gang rape of a 23-year-old female photographer in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai, police said Friday.

The incident is the latest shocking report of sexual assault to make headlines in the South Asian nation.

"We have made one arrest so far, but all the accused have been identified," according to the city's police commissioner, Satyapal Singh, who earlier said five men took part.

The attack took place Thursday evening in a deserted area of the Shakti Mills district in Mumbai, Singh said.

The unidentified female victim and a male colleague were on assignment in the area for a print publication when some of the men approached them and asked whether they had permission to take photographs, Singh said.

iReport on India draws global attention

The attack unfolded from there, he said, without providing a full account of events.

The victim is in a stable condition in Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai, hospital authorities said.

Singh said police have a "strong lead" in the case without giving further details. They released sketches of five men they said were suspects in the case.

Keeping chivalry alive in India: Men respond to rape crisis

The attack has shocked and disappointed many Mumbai residents, who consider their city to be a safer place for women than the capital, New Delhi.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 221 rape cases were reported in Mumbai in 2012.

But figures provided by the government show that there has been a rape reported to police every day in Mumbai between January and March this year. The average number of reported rapes in a month in 2013 in the city rose dramatically to 30.33, from 19.25 in 2012.

Delhi Police said the number of reported rapes in the capital had jumped from 179 for the first 3½ months of last year to 463 for the same period this year.

A rise in the number of rapes reported does not necessarily mean that more are being committed. It may be that recent high-profile cases have encouraged women to come forward with complaints.

The gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in a bus in New Delhi in December sparked debate and introspection in India about sexual crimes against women. The victim of the New Delhi attack later died in a Singapore hospital.

An outcry quickly grew over her case and expanded to include widespread concerns about women's safety and inequalities, triggering demonstrations in various cities.

In response, the nation's lawmakers have introduced tougher laws and punishments for sexual crimes and harassment. Despite such action, frequent episodes of sexual violence are reported in India.

Across India, 24,923 cases of rape were reported last year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

Some cases receive heavy coverage in the news media.

Earlier this month, police said a 7-year-old girl was raped in a train's toilet compartment in central India.

CNN's Mallika Kapur in Mumbai contributed to this report.

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