News / Asia

Four Defendants Found Guilty in India Gang Rape

A police vehicle carrying four men accused of the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus on December 16, enters a court in New Delhi, September 10, 2013.
A police vehicle carrying four men accused of the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus on December 16, enters a court in New Delhi, September 10, 2013.
Aru Pande
A fast-track court in the Indian capital has found four men guilty in last year’s brutal gang rape and killing of a young woman that rocked the country and sparked massive demonstrations.

Calls for justice were heard on the streets of India in the days that followed the December 16 attack on the 23-year old student.
 
Brutal Gang Rape Shocks India

2012
  • December 16: Victim is gang-raped and beaten on a bus in New Delhi
  • December 20: Protests intensify and spread
  • December 29: Victim dies in Singapore hospital

2013
  • January 2: Five suspects charged with rape and murder
  • January 17: Case against five suspects sent to special fast-track court
  • January 23: Government panel calls for new sexual assault laws
  • January 28: Panel rules sixth suspect will be tried as a juvenile
  • February 2: The five accused being tried in the fast-track court plead not guilty
  • March 11: Indian police say one of the suspects killed himself in jail
  • August 31: Juvenile suspect found guilty
  • September 10: Remaining four suspects found guilty
On Tuesday, nearly nine months after she died of severe internal injuries - four of the six (Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh) accused in the young woman’s gang rape and murder were found guilty. They have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and their lawyer says they will appeal the verdict.
 
A fifth suspect, Ram Singh, was found hanging in his high-security jail cell in March.  And the sixth accused, who was a juvenile at the time of the attack, was sentenced to three years last month.
 
The woman’s family say justice will only be done when the men receive the death penalty for their crime.

Percentage of men admitting rapePercentage of men admitting rape
x
Percentage of men admitting rape
Percentage of men admitting rape
The woman’s father tells Indian media that “if the men are hanged, then others will get the message and not commit such crimes.  They will think twice about it.”
 
The woman, called “Nirbhaya” or "fearless" by the Indian public and media, was returning home from a movie with a male friend in New Delhi when they accepted a ride on a private bus. The details of what followed the night of December 16 shocked the nation. The woman was repeatedly raped and tortured with an iron rod, her friend badly beaten. Both were thrown off the bus. The young physiotherapy student died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.
 
The brutal attack triggered weeks of protests, some violent, as demonstrators called for tougher measures to protect women against such crimes.
 
The government responded by setting up special fast-track courts in the capital to try sexual offenses and passing new anti-rape laws that also made stalking, voyeurism and other forms of sexual harassment punishable with prison terms.
 
But many women, like 40-year-old Shardha Mahesh, say not much has changed in the last year despite the media attention and public reaction to the gang rape.  The New Delhi housekeeper says she still feels unsafe while going to and from work.
 
She says she “gets touched and pushed while riding the bus and is afraid to leave the house after 8 p.m.”  Mahesh adds she “does not believe that women are any safer now and that even if a woman is accosted while walking alone at night, no one will come to her aid.”
 
Others are skeptical of any change in a deeply patriarchal society, where police officers have been known to be unsympathetic and unresponsive to crimes against women.
 
New Delhi’s new police commissioner, B.S. Bassi, whose force came under criticism for its handling of the attack, told reporters Tuesday the case has helped implement change.
 
“In a way you can say it is a watershed, there is no doubt about that. We will like to learn lessons from anything," said Bassi. "Our objective is to improve and improve everyday, and whatever we have learned, we would like to expand it, we would like to disseminate the learning to all our officers.”
 
If anything, Nirbhaya's rape has focused the Indian media’s attention on sexual attacks and the government’s response to the issue. But it remains unclear if the increased attention is actually shifting national attitudes about rape and crimes against women.
 
The four men found guilty Tuesday are expected to be sentenced as early as Wednesday.  They all face the death penalty.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid