An American woman was gang-raped Tuesday while hitchhiking near Manali, a town in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Indian police said.
Three men in a truck attacked the 30-year-old woman after she accepted a ride back to her guest house after visiting Vashisth, a popular tourist destination known for its hot springs.
The incident took place in the early hours of Tuesday following which she was dropped off on a highway, the Wall Street Journal reported. She later walked to a bus stop where she was subsequently found by highway police calling for help.
Reportedly, the men took her mobile phone, travel papers and money. Soon after, the California-based woman filed a case, a report from The Times of India said, and police officials issued an alert for the three men and roadblocks were put in place to inspect every truck leaving the town of Manali.
Three men have since been arrested in connection with the rape case, B. Kamal Kumar, the state’s chief of police told The Times.
The woman’s condition is yet unknown, but it is believed that she has been assigned a police escort, CNN reported.
Peter Vrooman, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi told the Journal, that the embassy was in touch with authorities in Manali, but he declined to comment further.
This attack is the latest in a series of crimes against women tourists in India.
In March, a Swiss cyclist was gang-raped by five men in the state of Madhya Pradesh, following which the Swiss government issued a warning to woman travellers to India. In January, the U.S. government too issued a travel advisory and cautioned women tourists not to travel alone in India.
On June 1, a 21-year-old worker for a non-profit organization in West Bengal was drugged and raped following a birthday party. A local businessman has been arrested in this regard.
The Indian subcontinent saw widespread protests in December when a 23-year-old woman was gang-raped in a bus in New Delhi by five men. She later succumbed to the injuries sustained from the brutal attack.
According to a survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry on India, foreign tourist numbers dropped 25 percent from a year earlier following the Delhi rape incident while the number of foreign women travellers fell even more -- by 35 percent.
Taking cognizance of the rising crime against women, the Indian government passed a new bill in March that advocates harsh punishment for rapists, which includes the death penalty in some cases.