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Spanish woman gang rape case crimes against foreigners in India rarely result in convictions Data

Gang rape: Sleuths from the Crime Investigation Department inspect the spot where a 45-year-old Spanish woman was allegedly gang-raped, in Dumka district of Jharkhand.

On March 1, a woman tourist from Spain camping with her husband was allegedly gang raped in Dumka district, Jharkhand, while travelling to Nepal from West Bengal. The incident occurred as the couple rested in a makeshift tent in a deserted area at Kurmahat village. According to a police source, eight people passing through the area stopped and assaulted the husband and raped the woman. The culprits also looted Rs. 10,000. The police have arrested eight persons in the case, so far.

The horrible incident bore chilling similarity to an incident in Madhya Pradesh, a decade ago, when a Swiss tourist was gang raped in Datia district, while on a cycling trip with her partner. She was camping near National Highway 75, close to a local police station. Six convicts were awarded life sentences in the case. In 2018, a Latvian woman disappeared near Pothencode, Thiruvananthapuram. Her body was discovered 40 days later. The prosecution argued that she was drugged, raped and murdered. In 2022, two persons were convicted in the case by a district court.

The above cases are examples of the few crimes against foreigners which resulted in arrests by the police and convictions by the courts in India. Data shows that most crimes committed against foreigners in India rarely reach the courts and convictions are even rarer. In the seven years between 2016 and 2022, 148 rape cases in which victims are foreigners have been recorded in India. In the same period, only 16 rape cases were disposed of by the courts. Disposal of cases includes convictions, discharges, acquittals, or even disposals without trial if the case gets quashed, withdrawn, abated or ended in a plea bargain. So disposals are some action taken by the court in a case.

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Of those 16 cases, only seven resulted in convictions. So, approximately one in about 20 rape cases in which victims are foreigners result in convictions. This is only an approximation as even these seven convictions could have come in cases filed much before 2016. However, when cases reported and convictions achieved are compared over a period (in this case, seven years), it gives a sense of the volume of cases reported to the police and how many ultimately result in convictions.

Chart 1 | The chart shows a comparison of the incidents of crimes against foreigners reported to the police and the number of cases disposed of by the courts and those which resulted in convictions in the 2016 to 2022 period.

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Only a few types of crimes in which case volumes were high have been considered for analysis. For instance, 65 cases were reported under the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act and no convictions were recorded. In the seven years, 35 forgery cases were reported and no convictions were recorded. Approximately, one in 88 thefts resulted in convictions. In the period considered, 79 foreigners were murdered, and in the same period, only three convictions were achieved.

The information in Chart 1 pertains to those cases which resulted in some action by the courts, either conviction or otherwise. But, many cases continue to be stuck in different stages of the trial for years, leading to an increasing backlog of court cases in which victims are foreigners.

Chart 2 | The chart shows the number of court cases pending at the end of each year, in which victims are foreigners.

The number of rape cases pending increased from 33 in 2016 to 131 in 2022. Cases of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty increased from 70 to 137 in the period. Number of murder cases pending increased from 21 to 69.

Source: National Crime Records Bureau’s annual Crime in India reports and

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