NEW DELHI (AP) — An Indian court convicted five men Thursday for raping a photojournalist and a call-center operator last summer inside an abandoned textile mill in the financial hub of Mumbai, cases that renewed calls to wipe out the scourge of sexual violence in India.
The rapes happened about a month apart in the same abandoned mill in the Lower Parel section of Mumbai, where luxury malls and condominiums stand alongside sprawling slums. Three of the men were convicted in both cases.
"(I) hope this verdict will act as a deterrent," said Maharashtra Home Minister R. R. Patil, saying the cases were tried in the "fastest possible time."
The men face 20 years to life in prison, prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said. Sentencing was expected on Friday. Two minors are being tried separately by a juvenile court.
In the first case, a call-center operator was gang-raped on July 31 inside the abandoned textile mill.
Nearly a month later, a 22-year-old photojournalist was on assignment with a male colleague when several men approached and offered to help them get permission to shoot photos in the abandoned mill. Once inside, the male colleague was beaten and tied up while the attackers took turns raping the woman.
The photojournalist stunned the nation after her attack by telling local media that "rape is not the end of life" — a groundbreaking statement given that many rape victims are often shunned by their families, fired from jobs or driven from their home villages.
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