3 Jan 2013

Father wants men hanged for Indian rape

10:57 pm on 3 January 2013

The father of an Indian student whose gang rape and death sparked public outrage is demanding that those responsible be hanged.

The attack on the 23-year-old student on 16 December provoked furious protests in New Delhi and has fuelled a nationwide debate about sexual crimes in India, where a rape is reported on average every 20 minutes.

The woman died of her injuries in hospital in Singapore, where she had been taken for treatment, on Saturday.

Five men and a teenager have been arrested in connection with the attack.

Conviction on charges laid against the men would make them liable to the death penalty, though it is rarely carried out in India.

A sixth suspect is reported to be under 18 and a juvenile. Police have ordered a bone test for him to confirm his age.

The charges will be presented at Delhi's Saket district court, but the accused are unlikely to be there in person.

On Wednesday, thousands of women marched through Delhi to Rajghat - the memorial of India's independence leader, Mahatma Gandhi - to protest against the rape and Indian attitudes to women.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was among the protesters, and called for stringent anti-rape laws.

The victim's family has said it would have no objection if a new anti-rape law was named after her, as suggested by India's Junior Education Minister Shashi Tharoor.

Protests have been taking place every day since the gang rape with protesters expressing anger over attitudes to women in India and calling for changes to the laws on violence against women.

The woman and a male friend had been to see a film when they boarded the bus.

Police said she was raped for nearly an hour, and both she and her companion were beaten with iron bars, then thrown out of the moving bus into the street.

On Tuesday, police sources said the driver of the bus had tried to run her over after throwing her out, but she was saved by her friend, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.


The Indian government has been heavily criticised for failing to protect women.

According to official figures, a woman is raped in Delhi every 14 hours, while women across the country say they are frequently subjected to sexual intimidation and violence.

Since the bus attack, Delhi officials have announced a series of measures intended to make the city safer for women.

These include more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants, and the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains.

The government has also set up a committee under a retired Supreme Court judge to recommend changes to the anti-rape law.

A telephone helpline has been launched for women in distress, connected with police stations across the city.

But many of the protesters say that women are viewed as second-class citizens, and that a fundamental change in culture and attitudes, backed up by law, is needed to protect them.

A rape every 21 minutes

Every 21 minutes a rape is carried out in India, according to government figures, and campaigners say many more go unreported.

But ever since the Delhi gang rape on 16 December, thousands of ordinary people, with no political affiliation or ambition, have taken to the streets daily, protesting and demanding justice for the victim and her family, the BBC reports.

The government, initially slow in its response to the public anger, promised a quick trial and conviction for the suspects. And on Wednesday, the city's first fast-track court was inaugurated in south Delhi's Saket district. The court is expected to hear the gang rape case on a day-to-day basis.

A speedy trial would help temporarily soothe the nerves of a city wounded by the barbaric attack on a young woman, the BBC reported. But for such incidents not to recur in future, India has much to do to change society's feudal attitudes towards women.