Israeli woman, 25, says she was gang-raped in northern India

Victim reports she caught an early-morning ride in a vehicle carrying six men, two of whom assaulted her

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The town of Manali Anoop Pandit,  in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh , India. (CC-BY-SA - Anoop Pandit/Wikimedia)
The town of Manali Anoop Pandit, in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh , India. (CC-BY-SA - Anoop Pandit/Wikimedia)

An Israeli woman reported that she was gang-raped in northern India on Sunday morning by two men after she accepted a ride in their vehicle.

The incident took place at around 3 a.m. Sunday near the town of Manali, after the woman, 25, tried to reach Kaza in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, the Times of India reported. Police opened an investigation.

The woman had been trying to reunite with friends who had already left for the nearby town of Keylong after they all arrived in Manali a few days earlier.

Unable to find a taxi, the woman accepted a ride in a vehicle without license plates that was carrying six men. The occupants assured her they would take her to Manali, where she could catch a taxi to Keylong.

At some point along the way, two of the men raped her, the woman told police. After the assault she was dropped off in Manali where, together with a friend, she reported the incident to police later that morning.

The woman was being treated in a hospital after she reported the attack. The assailants fled.

“The medical examination has been carried out and sent Mandi for expert opinion,” said Padam Chand, the police superintendent in the Kullu district. “The woman has reported that she was looking for an auto or any vehicle near Manali when she was offered the lift.”

“She is being shifted today to a bigger hospital in Mandi town to carry out a proper medical examination,” Gandhi Ram, another police officer in Manali, said by phone.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Indian police had confirmed the rape complaint but that Israeli officials had yet to receive further details.

Although the victim was apparently unable to identify the vehicle, police were confident they could track the suspects, as the area is heavily covered by CCTV cameras, including some with night-vision capabilities, the report said.

“The complaint has been registered,” Chand said. “We are checking video footage. Investigations are headed in the right direction.”

India hiked punishments for rapists as part of an overhaul of sexual assault laws in the wake of a fatal gang-rape in 2012 that shone a global spotlight on frightening levels of violence against women in India.

But rape and sexual assault remain commonplace, with incidents hitting the headlines on an almost daily basis.

An American woman was raped in Manali in 2013 by three men when she took a ride with them in a truck. In 2012 an Australian woman was also raped in the same area, located in the picturesque Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh state.

AFP contributed to this report.

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