A 31-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly raping a British woman in the western Indian state of Goa.
The victim was walking back to her hotel on Thursday in the popular tourist destination when the incident took place, according to Rajendra Dessai, a police officer at the Canacona police station in southern Goa.
“The incident was reported very early in the morning, at around 4:30 a.m,” Dessai said. “There is a slightly lonely spot on the road there and that is where the man was.
“He took her into the fields and raped her and then he took her bags with him.”
The accused has been arrested on suspicion of rape and robbery, Dessai added.
Under Indian law, victims of sexual assault cannot be identified in the media. Police said the woman was a regular visitor to Goa and was staying near its famous Palolem beach when the attack took place.
The British High Commission in New Delhi said consular staff were supporting the woman, “and are continuing to do all we can to assist her.”
Goa is one of the biggest tourist areas in India. It contains some of the country’s most beautiful beaches and welcomes hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists every year.
In 2017, more than 270,000 foreign nationals traveled to the state, according to India’s Ministry of Tourism.
But Goa’s reputation has been repeatedly marred by incidents of sexual assault. Last year, another British national was raped and killed near Deobagh Beach in Canacona.
In 2008, British teenager Scarlett Keeling was raped and murdered in Goa. Two men charged with committing the crime were acquitted in 2016.
India has struggled to reduce high rates of sexual violence against women for decades. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 39,000 rapes reported in India in 2016 — a rate of about 100 cases every day.