News / Asia

India Mourns 23-Year-Old Gang Rape Victim

Indians gather next to a makeshift memorial to mourn the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim, in Bangalore, India , Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
Indians gather next to a makeshift memorial to mourn the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim, in Bangalore, India , Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
The young Indian victim of a brutal gang rape has died in Singapore, where she had been taken for treatment. Thousands of people staged peaceful protests in the Indian capital -- where the incident took place -- despite tight security to prevent mass demonstrations. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi, the incident has sparked widespread calls for social change.

From people on the street, to the country's top leaders, messages of grief and vows to prevent similar crimes poured in as news spread of the death of the 23-year-old rape victim.

The young woman died early Saturday morning in Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore of severe organ failure, 13 days after she was brutally beaten and raped by a group of men in a moving bus in New Delhi. She had undergone multiple surgeries in the capital before being flown to Singapore Thursday for special treatment.

India's High Commissioner to Singapore T.C.A. Raghavan said the victim's family members were by her side when she died.

"In the end it was the scale of her injuries which proved too much," said Raghavan.

Thousands of people came out into the streets in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi to mourn her death, demand justice for her and safety for women.

The biggest protests were in the capital, where the crime took place. Hundreds of young people gathered at several locations, although authorities closed several metro stations and many roads and deployed hundreds of police to prevent mass demonstrations.

But the protests were quieter than those last week which had turned violent.

In some parts of the city, people marched in silence, others held up placards. They all demanded a safer city and speedier justice for crimes against women. Many shouted slogans. In the evening they lit candles in her memory. The protestors termed it “Black Saturday”.

"We want safety as our first priority"
"We should be able to breathe peacefully and walk on the streets"
“I do not feel safe at all….”
“It is not just about the government, I think the people of this country need to realize that what they have made this country, we have to change this…”

Across the country, ordinary people and media paid tribute to the young girl, calling her "braveheart" and "India's Daughter," and saying her death should be honored by bringing about social change.

  • Sand artist Raj Kapoor holds a candle near a sculpture at the Sangam to pay tribute to a gang rape victim who died early Saturday, in Allahabad, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
  • An Indian ties a black band as he arrives to attend a gathering to mourn the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim, in Mumbai, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
  • An Indian woman shouts at a police officer during a gathering of people to mourn the death of the 23-year-old gang rape victim in Mumbai, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
  • Indian women participate in a candle-lit vigil in New Delhi to mourn the death of a gang rape victim, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
  • A demonstrator shouts slogans during a protest in New Delhi, December 29, 2012.
  • Indian men and women lie down on the ground mimicking dead bodies as they mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
  • Indians gather next to a makeshift memorial to mourn the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim, in Bangalore, India , Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
  • A man participates in a candle-lit vigil to mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
  • An Indian woman holds a placard as she joins others in a protest to mourn the death of the 23-year-old gang rape victim, in Bangalore, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
  • People walk near a sand sculpture with the words "We Want Justice" created by Indian sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik, in solidarity with a gang rape victim who was assaulted in New Delhi, on a beach in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, December 29, 2012.
  • Indian women participate in a candle-lit vigil to mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
  • A girl holds a placard as she takes part in a protest rally in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, December 29, 2012.

There is widespread public outrage against authorities for not doing enough to prevent such crimes and assure safety of women. Murder charges have now been added to the rape charges brought against six suspects in the case.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a statement, said he understood the reactions from a young India that genuinely desires change. He said "It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channelize these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action."

Delhi's Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the victim has shaken India's conscience.

"Our hearts are burdened with grief and shame. And this is not a moment for speeches or words, but for deep reflection. I would like each one of you to be calm and peaceful," said Dikshit.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde vowed strict action against the accused.

Shinde says the government will heed public calls for strict punishment for the guilty and ensure that such incidents do not happen again.

Home Secretary R.P.N. Singh said authorities are committed to bringing about change to ensure women's safety.

"The government will work overtime to try and bring about laws and steps that will ensure that no other person, no other citizen of the country has to undergo the same kind of trauma," said Singh.

India's government has been criticized for being slow to understand the outrage that followed the incident, in a country where crimes against women are growing, and where police figures show that rape is among the fastest growing crimes, even though many rapes go unreported.

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Comment Sorting
by: p.s.bhugwandin from: south africa
January 03, 2013 6:59 AM
the govt should change the dressing of females in india.most of the females are almost naked.this is why they are inviting rapist.

by: Rania hasan from: usa
January 02, 2013 2:54 PM
rapists should be hang openly to teach lesson others , otherwise this will never end indian govt should take this step to give importance to women in india.

by: Shy from: NotIndia
January 02, 2013 6:06 AM
This girl has suffered before she died and after she died also.....she won't rest in peace. People are afraid, scared, especially women of what may their fate be in the future. Those cruel people must be punished, not death sentence but make them, make them see life difficult as they have made the last few moments of the girl's life and her family.....The girl's family,, if they reading this comment, I want them to know that not only India's people want justice but this case has spread internationally...we all want justice for that 23 year old.

by: aleisha from: australia
January 01, 2013 6:28 PM
i am appauled at how any human can treat another this way!!

all the men that participated in the abuse of this beautiful poor inocent young woman need to have the same thing happen to them in prison for the rest of there misserable pathetic lives!

by: Anonymous
December 29, 2012 1:53 PM
What i would like to know is .....this is a BUS not a hidden alley way, was there no one else on the bus??? was the bus driver in on this????? this poor poor girl seething at what has happened to this helpless woman...The men that done this to her should have the same done to them and WORSE, they should be stripped of any human rights when they committed this act.....I just hope that they are caught and given a VERY hefty jail sentence ......

by: Tamil Nesan from: australia
December 29, 2012 10:56 AM
I am writing this as an ashamed Indian.

Problems starts at Top.Constitution, Judiciary, Police serve politicians and bureaucrats. Corrupts / liars / criminals / rapists sit in parliament and state assemblies . They have become power and money hungry and their least priority is a common man.

We have failed in almost every area viz-a-vis , Non-functional Judicial system, crime against women /poor/lower caste, agriculture (farmers suicide), industry( policy paralysis), education ( no clear policies), foreign policy (blind eye), mining (illegal activities), telecom ( illegal licenses), internal security (no proper policing /outdated laws) , economy ( poor growth rate) , inflation, medicine (no systems- illegal testings), poor infrastructure, improper resource management (water), illegal land grabbing and the list goes on and on

All these years we have not learnt to look at a fellow Indian as a human beings, instead we look at his/her religion, caste, economic status, gender, colour.We either look-up or look-down. Differences start in our homes.The situation looks grim and will we really change ?Unless we change we will perish.

We are left with only one option, WE MUST CHANGE , we fought for Independence and we have given this country to thieves.Time has come to fight for our rights .to fight in streets. After so many years of Independence we have sent a rape victim to a foreign county ( for best treatment possible) and this is how our rulers have kept India .

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