India Uber cab rape case: Delhi driver suspected of sexual assault due in Delhi court

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New Delhi | Updated: December 08, 2014 3:30 PM

The driver for international tax-booking service Uber suspected of raping a woman in New Delhi was escorted by police Monday to a court in the Indian capital to face charges.

The driver for international tax-booking service Uber suspected of raping a woman in New Delhi was escorted by police Monday to a court in the Indian capital to face charges.

Shiv Kumar Yadav – shackled and wearing a black hood over his head – was expected to be formally charged with raping the finance company employee on Friday night when he was hired to ferry her home from a dinner engagement, police said.

The 32-year-old suspect was arrested Sunday in his hometown of Mathura, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of the Indian capital. Uber has suspended the driver’s account and was cooperating with authorities, the company said in a statement.

”We have brought him to Delhi,” Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi said.

Police told Press Trust of India they were working to verify Yadav’s claims that he had been acquitted of rape charges in 2011, after spending seven months in jail. PTI did not give any further details or name the police source.

The case, almost exactly two years after a young woman was fatally gang raped on a moving bus in the capital, has renewed national anger over chronic sexual violence in India and demands for more effort to ensure women’s safety.

The government rushed through legislation last year to double prison terms for rape to 20 years and to criminalize voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women.

But activists say much more needs to be done, including better educating youths and adding basic infrastructure, such as street lights and bathrooms to prevent women from getting caught out alone in the dark.

The news agency PTI said the 26-year-old woman who reported Friday’s rape had fallen asleep during the ride home. When she woke up, she found the car parked in a secluded place, and the driver then threatened her and raped her.

”The vehicle used in the crime has been found and brought to Delhi, where it will be subjected to a thorough forensic examination,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.

A crowd of angry protesters rallied outside the Indian home minister’s residence on Monday, demanding more action by officials to ensure safety for women.

”The shocking incident of rape of a young woman in a cab on Friday night exposes the alarming situation about lack of women safety in the national capital,” opposition party Aam Admi Party said in a statement.

Official statistics say about 25,000 rapes are committed every year in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people. Activists, though, say that number is just a tiny percentage of the actual figure, since victims are often pressed by family or police to stay quiet about sexual assaults.

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