The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Knife & camera phone foil rape

Bhubaneswar, May 12: Foreign sightseers are falling back on traditional weapons and technology to tackle human hazards in Incredible India, the government’s tagline to promote tourism.

British tourist Isabella Scott, 28, whipped out a pocket-knife from her bag and fought off a rape attempt on Puri beach, then captured the attacker on her phone camera before he got away.

A. Damodar Rao, a visitor from Berhampur, was arrested for attempting to rape the woman who had been reading a book in a quiet part of the beach when he attacked her in the morning yesterday. He was produced in a local court today and has been sent to 15 days’ judicial custody.

“Rao allegedly tore the novel she was reading and tried to converse with her before he attempted such a move,” said Pradeep Pattnaik, inspector-in-charge of Puri sea beach police station, where Scott filed a complaint.

Caught off guard at first, the tourist from Scotland quickly regained her composure and punched him, all the while screaming for help. When she brought out the knife, Rao, 22, sped away but not before the victim had taken his picture on her mobile phone.

Scott then went to the police station where she showed his picture and lodged a complaint. Rao, who was bruised in the scuffle, was arrested from the seashore soon after. Both Scott and Rao have been medically examined.

In March, mobile phone had helped catch a rapist. Assaulted by an MBA student hailing from Orissa, a German tourist in Alwar had sent an SMS to her friend in Berlin, setting off a chain reaction that led to the arrest of the accused, who was sentenced to jail after a superfast trial.

Today, the Puri superintendent of police, Sanjiv Panda, said Rao’s photograph had helped them catch him. “She was definitely smart and her survival skills are as good as any Indian’s,” he said.

Scott is in Puri alone and has been staying at a lodge near the beach since Monday.

Orissa tourism department appeared unruffled by the incident. Biranchi Mishra, joint director in the department, said the state was not concerned.

A year ago, the department had introduced tourist police to reduce harassment of visitors. But not a single policeman was at the beach when Scott was attacked.

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