SRINAGAR  - In yet another major embarrassment over safety of foreign nationals in India , a 24-year-old British woman was on Saturday found murdered inside a houseboat in the Dal Lake in Srinagar, police said. The police suspect that the victim might be raped before being killed as her clothes were torn.
Police have detained a Dutch national suspected to have committed the murder, Kashmir police chief said. Sara Groves was found in a pool of blood inside her room in the houseboat on Saturday morning, they said.
A Dutch tourist Richard De Wit (43), who was staying in another room of the houseboat, has been arrested when he tried to flee the Valley at Qazigund, 75 km from Srinagar, on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, they said. A team of FSL experts is at the spot and the body of the woman was sent for postmortem, the sources said.
Miss Groves, from Guernsey, was 24 years old and had been staying on the New Beauty houseboat, one of hundreds of old British floating hotels on the side of Srinagar’s celebrated Dal Lake, for 25 days.
The owner, GM Shoda, said he and the victim had become friends and she was “like a daughter” to him.
Miss Groves and the Dutch tourist were the only guests staying on the houseboat and had been sitting on the deck until midnight when she went to bed.
Later, at around 2.30 in the morning, the owner’s sons heard an argument and screams, and went to investigate.  They said they saw the Dutch tourist leaving the houseboat in a traditional shikara rowing boat and that he capsized and swam to the shore. They then found the victim lying dead in a pool of blood in her room with multiple stab wounds.
Held Kashmir’s Deputy Inspector-General, Afad ul-Mujtaba, said the son of the houseboat owner, named locally as Samir Shoda, is also being questioned by police as well.
The police said the British victim and the Dutch suspect had not been friendly with each other and although they were both sitting on the houseboat deck on Saturday night, they had not spoken to each other.
“The girl went to sleep at about 12 o’clock and the Dutch man was outside until 12.30am,” Mr Mujtaba said.  “After that everyone, including the houseboat owner and staff went to sleep. At around 2.30am, they [the owner and his son] heard some cries, possibly some quarrelling.”
A knife was found near the victim’s body and there was evidence that her room door had been forced open, police added.
A Guernsey Police spokesman said: “Family members have been informed and it is requested that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”
The recent incident in Srinagar comes in the backdrop of growing concern over the safety of women including foreign tourists in India ever since the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in New Delhi last December.
Saturday’s incident has brought back the memories of a gang-rape of a Swiss woman in Madhya Pradesh on March 15, a rape attempt on a British woman in an Agra hotel on March 19 and molestation of a South Korean woman on a bus in Kolkata on March 25.
Such has been the impact of growing assault cases on foreign nationals that the 31-year-old British woman who jumped off a hotel balcony in Agra to escape the alleged sexual Assault said that she will never travel alone again. On March 25, a 23-year-old South Korean woman was allegedly molested while boarding a bus in the Kolkata’s Thakurpukur area. Jessica Davies, a dental hygienist from Greenwich spoke of her ordeal for the first time since her return to Britain after she cut-short her back-packing tour of Asia. She had jumped off a hotel balcony in Agra to escape an alleged sexaul assault.