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Police File Charges Against Mumbai Gang Rape Suspects Accused Of Assaulting Photojournalist

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MUMBAI GANG RAPE
Police officials escort an accused, head covered with black cloth, in the gang rape of a young photojournalist in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai, India, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) | AP

MUMBAI, India -- Police in India's financial center of Mumbai have filed charges against four men and a juvenile in the gang rape of a photojournalist that fueled further debate about women's safety after a fatal assault in New Delhi sparked mass protests.

The 600-page charge sheet filed in a magistrate's court lists details of the attack last month in Mumbai, citing 86 witnesses and DNA evidence, the Press Trust of India reported Thursday. It said a separate charge sheet was filed with a juvenile court against the minor boy.

The 22-year-old photojournalist was on assignment with a male colleague at an abandoned textile mill in Mumbai's Lower Parel area – where luxury malls and condominiums stand alongside sprawling slums – on Aug. 22 when they were approached by several men who offered to gain permission to shoot photos in the building. Once inside, the pair was attacked. The male colleague was beaten and tied up while the attackers took turns raping the woman.

The Mumbai charges come a little more than a week after a New Delhi court sentenced four men to death for the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old medical student on a moving bus in the capital last December.

That attack sparked huge protests in the capital. The New Delhi victim died two weeks later from massive internal injuries from being penetrated by a metal rod.

The New Delhi case prompted discussions about tolerance of public groping, sexual assault and violence against women in a country where rapid cultural and economic change is clashing with long-entrenched conservative values.

Pledging to crack down, the federal government has created fast-track courts for rape cases, doubled prison terms for rape, and criminalized voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women.

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