News / Asia

Indian Gang Rape Suspects Appear in Court

Indian police officers stand outside the district court where five men accused in a gang rape were brought to appear in New Delhi, January 7, 2013.
Indian police officers stand outside the district court where five men accused in a gang rape were brought to appear in New Delhi, January 7, 2013.
Anjana Pasricha
Five of six men charged in the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi have been produced in court in the Indian capital. The country's chief justice also wants more fast track courts to ensure quick justice for crimes against women.

There was tight security in the New Delhi court where the five accused men were produced before a magistrate Monday. Proceedings were closed to the media and the public following chaotic scenes in court. The magistrate said that the trial will remain closed due to the sensitivity of the case.

  • An India woman participates in a protest against the recent gang rape of a young woman in moving bus, in New Delhi, India, January 7, 2013.
  • Police stand guard outside the Saket district court where the accused in a gang rape are being tried, New Delhi, India, January 7, 2013.
  • A Delhi state police van believed to be carrying the accused in a gang rape leaves the Saket district court in New Delhi, India, January 7, 2013.
  • Amran sits on an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar to protest the gang rape of a young woman in moving bus, in New Delhi, India, January 7, 2013.
  • Indians sing devotional songs during a gathering to mourn the death of a rape victim in New Delhi, India, January 5, 2013.
  • Indian children paint messages during a gathering to mourn the death of a rape victim in New Delhi, India, January 5, 2013.
 
Monday's chaos was triggered by the massive crowd in the small courtroom and also a ruckus between a lawyer who offered to defend the men and other lawyers who said the accused do not deserve to be represented.

The five suspects, between the ages of 19 and 35, have been charged with murder, rape, and kidnapping of the young woman who died of the severe injuries she sustained when she was brutally gang-raped in the Indian capital last month. A sixth accused, who is a teenager, has been produced in a juvenile court.

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
The lawyer, Manohal Lal Sharma, who offered to defend the men said they deserve representation.

Sharma said all the five accused are innocent until proven guilty according to law. He said if they were rich, instead of slumdwellers, they would have had top lawyers defending them.

The next hearing will be on January 10. Later, the trial will move to a fast track court which opened last week. The government hopes to conclude the proceedings within weeks and meet widespread demands for quick justice.

Prosecutors have told the court that there is forensic evidence to link the defendants to the crime scene. They will also rely on a statement given by the rape victim to police as she lay in a hospital battling for life.

Two of the five accused have offered to testify against their fellow defendants. They have already confessed to participating in the attack.

The gang rape in Delhi has triggered massive outrage and put the spotlight on rape and sexual assault in India as well as calls for a change in attitudes which often blame rape victims for the crime.

On Monday, there was furor over comments by a Hindu spiritual leader, Asaram Bapu, who suggested that the Delhi rape victim was also responsible for the crime as she boarded a bus in which there were no women. He said she should have called those who assaulted her brothers and pleaded for mercy.

A senior leader of the opposition Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, Ravi Shankar Prasad, called it a regrettable statement.

“He is the biggest guru, the country looks up towards him. For him to make this statement in relation to a crime which has shocked the conscience of the country is not only unfortunate, but deeply regrettable,” said Prasad.

Amid a growing cry for speedier justice for crimes against women, India’s Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, has asked High Courts to establish more fast track courts in to expedite similar cases. He said the delay in concluding trials could be a reason for the spurt in crimes against women.

The government is also considering reforming the way police and the legal system treat sexual assault after reports of police insensitivity and judicial inaction in sexual assault cases.

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by: Elz from: Canada
January 09, 2013 1:35 AM
My god, Gang rape on a moving bus? The accused should be shot on sight, not charged. What does this say for India as a country to allow this to happen on a moving bus?! How can individuals treat a woman as if she doesn't have a soul or life. As a rapper, I know we have some messed up lyrics but I'm speaking on behalf of all mainstream and underground rappers right now. Rape isn't right and it should not happen.

by: Gayathri Hewagama from: Sri Lanka
January 07, 2013 11:05 PM
We are all, in our own "small" ways responsible for this crime. In countries like ours, girl children are schooled into being victims-otherwise why are we, as women, taught since childhood to be feminine, weak, subordinate, passive fools. Why aren't we taught how to assert ourselves as strong, independent human beings who want to live our lives with freedom and dignity? Are we vegetables??? The horrendously sexist culture in which we live is entirely to blame. We are entirely to blame!

by: Concerned from: Washington DC
January 07, 2013 3:08 PM
No one seems to talk about the Mohammed 'the juvenile' rapist, who lured the couple in the bus, Mohammed hit the girl on the head with the rod, Mohanned abused the girl with the rod, Mohammed raped the girl twice, once when she was conscious and once when she was unconscious, Mohammed threw both of them out of the bus, Mohammed also reportedly pulled the girls intestines with his bare hands, he was a bus attended who slept int he bus now is in juvenile home has warm clothes, bed and fresh food everyday.Mohammed's life is actually better after the rape incident, and also he will most likely get no more than couple of years of government hospitality courtesy of taxpayer.

by: Richard Kuechle from: Lincoln CA
January 07, 2013 1:35 PM
Spiritual Leader Asaraum Bapu comment seems to suggest that at least some of the accused are Hindu or that is or was part of their spiritual background. I sincerely hope that journalists will pursue research into how this faith's attitude toward women is an integral part of the mind set that has allowed authorities to look the other way.

by: tab
January 07, 2013 1:14 PM
So, lets understand how someone who claims to be a Spiritual leader can be so undeniably arrogant and cold-blooded. No one who claims to be Spiritual would make such a remark as the comments by a Hindu spiritual leader, Asaram Bapu. Maybe he should endure what this innocent, helpless young woman endured and ultimely died from the torture inflicted upon her, then maybe he would change his ignorant attitude. He is not worthy of being called a spiritual Anything! Shameful.

by: Daniel Durazo from: Richmond, VA
January 07, 2013 1:06 PM
What a terrible tragedy. I hope justice is served and that her death leads to real changes in the system.

by: Chris from: USA
January 07, 2013 12:11 PM
"....if they were rich, instead of slumdwellers, they would have had top lawyers defending them."

This is part of the problem. Rich rapists will get off and slumdwellers will mimic the act. The legal system is a joke in India. It shouldn't matter if the perp or victim is rich or poor - in either case, these rapists should be put to death. Rape was only part of the crime - they mutilated this woman while she was still alive, then tried to kill her by running her over. I'm concerned about the "juvenile" who may get off with 3 years. California had enough of this and said perps of such violent crimes can be tried as adults. Changes need to be made to India's legal/"justice" system.

by: SeniorMoment from: Washington State, USA
January 07, 2013 10:28 AM
As long as the proceedings are televised for India to witness whether or not the trial is fair to the everyone involved and the punishment sufficient to the crime, it was probably a smart move to close the trial to keep the alleged rapists safe in that the public is angry enough to potentially beat these men to death if the police protection is overwhelmed. They are innocent until proven guilty, at least they would be in the USA. I can't speak to India's legal system or the new fast track courts one way or another.

Non-televised proceedings of any kind though would be a huge mistake by the magistrate. All of the women in India are closely following this case and many have withdrawn from the workforce hurting India's economy on account of this incidence and the personal risk of commuting to work without being raped along the way from what I have read in the news.

by: SK from: Bengaluru
January 07, 2013 6:38 AM
The "female" police officers are discussing what their good-for-nothing husbands are going to cook tonight, while the dog stands guard.

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