Kashmir: Briton 'stabbed to death' on houseboat

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Sarah GrovesImage source, Handout
Image caption,
Sarah Groves was from Guernsey and is reported to have been staying in a houseboat in Kashmir

Police in Indian-administered Kashmir are questioning a Dutch national about the killing of a British woman on a houseboat in Srinagar.

Sarah Groves, 24, from Guernsey, was stabbed to death on the boat in the state's summer capital, police said.

The arrested man, who is his 40s, is thought to have arrived at the boat on Thursday where Miss Groves had reportedly been staying for two months.

The Foreign Office said her next of kin have been informed.

"We are aware of reports of an incident involving a British national in Srinagar, Kashmir, and are looking into it," a spokesman said.

The British High Commission says it is in touch with local authorities and trying to gather more information.

Ms Groves attended secondary school at Guernsey's Blanchelande College and worked at the Old Government House Hotel.

Media caption,

The woman was found on a houseboat in a popular tourist destination, as Sanjoy Majumder reports

Abdul Ghani Mir, the police inspector general of Indian-administered Kashmir, told the NDTV channel: "The Dutch national had fled from the houseboat in the night, leaving behind his belongings.

"He was trying to flee from the Valley, carrying only his passport. We flashed an alert for his arrest."

He was arrested in Qazigund, a town just under 75km (45 miles) south of Srinagar.

Police said he smashed open the door of the British woman's room during the night.

She had been staying on the houseboat for two months, the owner told the television station, adding that she had been "like her daughter".

BBC South Asia correspondent Sanjoy Majumder said the woman was aged 24 and her body has been taken away for a forensic examination to determine the extent of her injuries and also whether she had been sexually assaulted.

Correspondents say violent attacks on women have been in greater focus in India since the fatal gang rape of a young student in Delhi last December which led to widespread protests.

The Foreign Office lifted its warning against travel to the cities of Srinagar and Jammu last November, although warnings remained in force in the rest of Kashmir.

The Himalayan region has been partitioned between Indian and Pakistan since 1947.

A BBC reporter in India said the incident would be seen as a setback to the struggling tourism industry in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Our correspondent says the latest spate of tensions erupted after the hanging of militant Afzal Guru in February for plotting an attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.