News / Asia

India Remains in Mourning for Gang Rape Victim

Indian students shout slogans during a protest rally in Hyderabad, India, December 31, 2012.
Indian students shout slogans during a protest rally in Hyderabad, India, December 31, 2012.
VOA News
India remains in mourning Monday, two days after the death of a 23-year-old woman who died of severe organ failure after suffering internal injuries and brain damage in a brutal gang rape.

Six men have been arrested and charged with murder in the December 16 attack in New Delhi.  Police say the men could face the death penalty, if convicted.

Candlelight vigils have been held in the capital and may cities across India since the attack.

Out of respect for the unidentified victim, India's military has canceled its New Year's celebrations, as did Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party.

The woman's death has set off a debate about what India needs to do to protect women.

Issues such as rape, dowry-related deaths and female infanticide rarely enter mainstream political discourse in India.

Protesters and politicians have called for tougher rape laws, major police reforms and a transformation in the way the nation treats women.

BJP, the main opposition party, has called for a special session of parliament to discuss the issues and to amend legislation.

However, BJP lawmaker Banwari Lal Singhal has called for a ban on skirts as part of school uniforms. He said he wants the girls to wear pants because a new dress code would keep girls "away from the lustful gazes of men."

  • Lawyers shout slogans as they hold placards and a banner during a protest demanding the judicial system act faster against rape outside a district court in New Delhi, India, January 3, 2013.
  • Indians stand in a line to enter the District Court complex where a new fast-track court was inaugurated Wednesday to deal specifically with crimes against women, in New Delhi, India, January 3, 2013.
  • An elderly Indian man lights a candle at a makeshift memorial of a gang-rape victim in New Delhi, India, Janueary 3, 2013.
  • Women carrying placards enter Raj Ghat to attend a prayer ceremony for a rape victim after a rally organized by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit (unseen), New Delhi, India, January 2, 2013.
  • A student prays during a vigil for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi, in Ahmedabad, India, December 31, 2012.
  • Students hold candles as they pray during a vigil for a gang rape victim who was assaulted in New Delhi, in Ahmedabad, India, December 31, 2012.
  • Men lie on a street while on a hunger strike during a protest in New Delhi, India, December 31, 2012.
  • Students participate in a protest rally, in Hyderabad, India, December 31, 2012.
  • Indians burn effigies of the rapists during a candle-lit vigil to mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, India, December 30, 2012.
  • Indians participate in a candle-lit vigil to mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, India, December 30, 2012.

Mamata Sharma, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, slammed the legislator for his remarks, saying instead of changing the dress code of the girls, he should ask men to change their attitudes and treat both sexes equally.

Human Rights Watch said the gang rape "should spur decisive action" by the Indian government.  

Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW's South Asia director, says the Indian government needs to act immediately to prevent sexual assault and ensure the dignified treatment of survivors.

The outcry over the attack caught the Indian government off-guard.  It took a week for Prime Minister Singh to make a statement on the case, infuriating many protesters.

The woman is reported to have accepted a ride with a male companion on a charter bus in New Delhi where the six men on board beat them both with an iron rod.  The woman was raped repeatedly.  Reports say the rod was used in the rape.  The woman and her friend were then thrown from the moving vehicle.

The male friend survived the attack.

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Comment Sorting
by: Angela Smith from: Sherman Oaks
January 19, 2013 9:50 AM
This person must be punished by law so that she could never harm others because no matter reasons he may have still she took a life. As a woman we should always take extra precautions because we never know what type of danger is waiting for us outside. It's just sad that even a mom and and woman like us could do such thing to us also. Things like this could merely be avoided now if we set our safety as a priority. Let us be concerned with our body. Be alert and witty when it comes to protecting ourselves. My friend told me with this panic button app and it fits in my security purpose needs. I feel protected all the time because I know in a single press of a panic button massive response from my family or 911 will come.

by: Thappad Singh from: Delhi
January 02, 2013 3:23 PM
Who is Really Responsible for this Brutal Rape and Murder?
What Indians do not understand and will not do is - take a good look at what caused it. If any Indian does and has done any of the following he or she is a party to this murder:

1. Follow bad cultural practices full of mistreatment of women such as dowry, bride harassment, infanticide, bride burning, daughter in-law harassment, refusing education to girls, girl teasing, groping on public buses,
2. Following religious scriptures full with bad role models, behavior and examples - Lord Krishna teased girls and Lord Rama's wife finally committed suicide after he refused to accept her as moral and pure wife after exile, Indians worship these as role models and read their stories with adoration
3. Teach children about bad role models and set bad examples at home, discriminate and/or mistreat daughters against boys
4. Follow extreme superstitions; follow miracke makers or middlemen to God called swamis, sadhus, follow ridiculous traditions at temples
5. Still follow the caste and class system, interracial and inter-caste marriages are looked down upon
6. Have a false sense of cultural superiority over societies of other nations while the daily behavior is despicable
7. Not have self-respect and self-esteem - play cronies (chamchagiri) to political leaders, bosses or anyone with power, keeping on kissing butts is an Indian virtue
7. People worshipping
8. Immoral and corrupt leaders running the country, currently 27 parliamentarians have rape cases open against them

The problem with Indians is not recognizing that they are the probmem. India's value system and people are equally responsible for the rapes and atrocities against Indian women. These crimes are condoned on a daily basis in India.

Another problem is India's educated middle class whch is meek, docile, afraid and selfish. The nation will forget this tragedy in 3 weeks and resume their mediocre lives and these crimes will continue. They always have.

by: MS from: New Jersey
December 31, 2012 12:42 PM
Very sad about this horrible death of an innocent victim. God truly cares about woman. Something similar happened to a woman and it is recorded in the Holy Bible in the book of Judges in ch 19:22 - 30 and ch 20:1-48, a very shocking account; but it showed that God approved of the death penalty for the rapists and also for the ones that shielded the rapists. The tribe that shielded the rapists were denounced by God and by the other tribes and God decreed their punishment, which was death. Hopefully, the protests over this poor woman's death will also bring it to wide attention and the God of justice will see that justice is done. Soon, this God of justice, will step in to eliminate all evildoers, including unrepentant rapists, and Jehovah will wipe the tears from all faces, when he ushers us all into a non-violent peaceful new earth, wherein, this woman and others who have died, will all be resurrected back to life. {Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 21:3-4, Acts 24:15} Never again will there be evil men who hurt woman; they will all be gone - - forever and ever.
In Response

by: saif aly from: usa
December 31, 2012 1:24 PM
Dude, I respect your response in defense of women of India, but why are you invoking Bible passages here? Man, try to be a little more practical here. A women died because she was brutally rapoed and not because she didn't goto church? How's going to Church, or reading the Bible, or Koran, or Torah going to prevent rapes against women in Inda? Instead make suggestions like severe punishments for rapists, introducing compulsory civilian guards - both men and women - to patrol streets in all cities in India; educating the public about the horrors of raping women, increasing more women in police force, teaching men to treat women with respect because you've a mother, sister, niece, aunt, wife, girlfriend who can all be the same situation as this lady went through.

by: Rajesh J Nair from: Bangalore
December 31, 2012 12:36 PM
India is called as a democratic country where peoples representative do not mingle with public. Lack of strict rules, proper implementation , lack of education , lack of speedy justice and worst political scenario is the master mind of these type of horrible incidents.

by: Sarah from: Los Angeles
December 31, 2012 12:35 PM
The DECENT male population of India and other nations who blame women for their violent sexual impulses and crimes need to stand up to this abomination. America only "got it" nearly 100 years ago that women are intelligent human beings worthy of respect, reverence and freedom. Those that openly degrade women and participate in honor killings (what a pathetic, deluded practice that is) are a disgrace to humanity.

by: Mehtasaab from: Washington, DC
December 31, 2012 10:26 AM
I am shame of being Indian. What happened to our rich culture?
I am tired of listening "Bharat is Mahan". We forgot the meaning of Nameste. We don't repect woman and minorities (Low caste).
We goto temple and donate money and gold, but we don't help other human being who need help. We forgot our culture and blindly accepting western cuture. We don't even speak and write our languages. Shame for us. India, please learn to repect all human being.

In Response

by: sobhita from: new jersey
December 31, 2012 7:37 PM
i know exactly what ur talking about. i come from south india, hyderabad and it ashames me to even compare our culture to western. we deserve to treat ladies with respect and loyalty. namaste is the sacred way of greeting each other, its also the way for us indians to bring back culture and religion. i visited india a few weeks ago and many lepers were suffering and visiting temples. it made me heartbroken to see them suffer. we shud all come together and help human beings in our new world of misery. mee andaru kee new year subakanshulu. nanu ipuru velutanu. subbamastu.

by: Anonymous from: Canada
December 31, 2012 10:13 AM
This is the worst incident of 2012 which has made me ashamed to to called upon as from an Indian Origin. If a community cannot respect a woman, cannot respect a human, then there is something seriously wrong with the people as well as the law makers of that country. Probably India should think about bringing in Shariah law, which will eliminate all these horrible incidents, and bring in peace and prosperity to the country. Shame on those who have committed this sin, and as well shame on them who are doing nothing to change the system.

by: kannan
December 31, 2012 10:03 AM
As a sri lankan tamil who was unfortunate enough to live through the turbulant times of when the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was sent to North and East of Sri Lanka in 1987-88, I can tell you more Tamil women were raped by IPKF than even the brutal Sri Lankan army every Tamil feared for. I think respecting women is something Indian men in general do not understand and it is quite prevelant even in bollywood cinema.

by: John from: USSA
December 31, 2012 8:31 AM
Growth is painful. This is not about a women being gang raped, it is about a whole nation waking up to its primitive mindset that condones women being treated as property. This is but the tip of the iceberg. India's image as the planets "Spiritual nation" ship has now been sunk by hitting this iceberg of this very very brutal and public gang rape.

This innocent young women has died a horrific brutal death. Which I do not morn more than all the young men who have given their lives for freedom, many many die for freedoms cause. So let us not make it about her, but make this about the cause she gave her life for! Wake up India demand the deep sap of your spiritual roots now surface and walk away from the outmoded sexist class system and learn women are the flowers of creation to be honored and held in the highest esteem and any nation that publicly/privately treats its women with such respect will surly endure the test of time.

by: john walsh from: whitby
December 31, 2012 8:19 AM
I hope all these men are sentenced to the death penently. 6 men rape & use a rod to inflict pain/kill another human. These people do not deserve to live. Lets judge the integrity of the politicans by there actions
In Response

by: msbpodcast from: Jersey City, NJ
December 31, 2012 9:04 AM
I want these animals to spend MANY YEARS suffering, as living examples of stupidity, as living examples of what arrogance brings, as living examples of what their attitude costs society.

I want them to spend many many years SUFFERING.

I don't want them just snuffed out like so many candles, leaving us to stumble in the dark. I want them to LIVE to regret their actions, spit upon, held up to shame and ridicule, and then cast down and trod upon.

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