Indian police rounded up a group of men on Wednesday over the alleged gang rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist who lost her way near the backpacker's area of the capital, officers said.
The woman approached the suspects for directions early on Tuesday evening while trying to return to her hotel in the bustling Paharganj area of New Delhi, reportedly after visiting a city museum.
Six men armed with a knife allegedly assaulted and then robbed the victim, who was travelling alone and had been in New Delhi since Monday after visiting the Taj Mahal, police and a receptionist at her hotel said.
"We have detained a group of men and we are questioning them over the incident," special commissioner of police Deepak Mishra said.
"The woman reported the attack to police and we are investigating. She has declined to undergo a medical examination [to confirm the rape] … They also took her mobile phone and other items and money in euros."
'Narrowing down the possible suspects'
The alleged attack just minutes from Connaught Place in the heart of the capital is the latest involving a foreigner in India, and again raises questions about the safety of women in the world's second most populous country.
Mishra declined to say exactly how many men had been detained over the incident on State Entry Road opposite the New Delhi Railway Station, but local media put the number at 15.
"The victim was obviously traumatised but was still clearly able to recall the entire crime sequence," another investigating officer told Agence France-Presse on the condition of anonymity.
"It helped speed up the process of narrowing down the possible suspects from the area," he added.
Kuldeep Singh, a receptionist at the victim's hotel, said the woman had appeared calm when she returned at about 8.30pm but then confided in a fellow traveller.
"She first came to me at the reception desk and told me that she needed 200 rupees to give to the auto driver as she had been robbed," Singh said.
Police took her statements in the presence of the Danish ambassador, fellow staff member Manish Sharma said.
Drugged and raped
Danish ambassador Freddy Svane said the embassy was providing assistance to the woman, but declined to give further details.
The case comes after a Polish woman was allegedly drugged and raped by a taxi driver earlier this month while travelling with her two-year-old daughter to New Delhi.
Last month, India marked the anniversary of the death of the student who was gang raped on a moving bus in the capital in an attack that sent shockwaves across the nation.
Protests over the attack prompted India's Parliament to toughen laws for rapists and other offenders, while other judicial and police reforms that have encouraged women to report attacks have also been introduced.
But daily accounts of brutal assaults continue to be reported in the country's newspapers.
A schoolgirl was raped by eight men in the eastern city of Ranchi this week while they held her male friend, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday.
A judge last month sentenced three Nepalese men to 20 years in jail for the gang rape of a US tourist in June in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.
Six men were sentenced to life in prison last July for the gang rape and robbery of a 39-year-old Swiss woman who had been holidaying in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. – Sapa-AFP