News / Asia

India Marks Somber New Year's Eve After Rape Victim's Death

Students hold candles as they pray during a candlelight vigil for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi and later died, in Ahmedabad, India, December 31, 2012.
Students hold candles as they pray during a candlelight vigil for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi and later died, in Ahmedabad, India, December 31, 2012.
VOA News
Many across India canceled festive New Year's Eve celebrations Monday out of respect for the young woman who died days earlier from injuries suffered during a brutal gang rape.

The unidentified victim, a 23-year-old student, died Saturday from severe internal injuries that her assailants caused with a metal rod during the attack on a bus two weeks ago. Six men have been arrested and charged with murder in the December 16 attack in New Delhi. They could face the death penalty if convicted.

Reflecting the country's somber mood, hotels, clubs, India's military and even the head of the ruling Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, called off their parties to greet the new year. Many have joined candlelight vigils in the capital and other major cities. Others have chosen to protest peacefully, in contrast to the violent demonstrations that erupted in New Delhi a week ago.

Debate sparked

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."

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.

Action demanded

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

Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW's South Asia director, said 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 Manmohan 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.

  • 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.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
January 01, 2013 8:23 PM
India need seriously learn from China. China is far advanced than India in every fields.
The so called west democracy wont do any good to India.
You should try eastern civilization!

by: Sumona Apsara Parii
January 01, 2013 3:16 PM
India is regarded as our Motherland. As a Mother, then, I wonder how hurt and saddened She (our Motherland) must feel that her daughters are treated as such? A place where women are in many of our spiritual scriptures revered as Devis (Goddesses). I thus completely agree with Mamata Sharma's statement: That instead of changing the dress code of girls, men need to honor and respect women. Men's inherent attitudes towards women have to change and to treat both sexes with equal dignity.



by: cath from: uk
January 01, 2013 12:40 PM
The students and the middle class in India need to put constant pressure to change the laws regarding women, education to change male attitudes, build a strong and sympathetic police, increase women police officer and lesson on self defence for girls and women.

The other MAIN priority for each indian is to watch the government like hawks and ensure that any minister who is not working for the people to be kicked out of his office together with the goons who are supporting them. The public should be ruthless in their demand for transparency and if the corrupt judges do not put them in jail, then again is time for the public to root and through them out.

Yes it not how a democratic country behaves, no matter because indian politicians do not exercise democracy. They and the corporate fat cats only want money and power. People of India keep up the presure to eradicate the corrupt and the greedy.

by: Dave Hector from: Boise, ID
January 01, 2013 1:53 AM
Allow ALL women to carry handguns and teach all of your sisters, wives, aunts and mother how to defend themselves from an attacker. If this element (they are not human though they walk among us) knows that they will face a bullet should they attempt this again, perhaps they will think twice...
In Response

by: soshaljustic from: NV
January 01, 2013 2:34 PM
Better yet-begin a movement that men will join, in support of women, in your nation-to battle the lack of egalitarianism in all corners of the nation. Join Planned Parenthood to keep those doors open and give women the choices, to engender women with their power of self-hood whether it is in or out of the health care setting.

Teach women at home to voice their egalitarianism and set policies at home! Breast feeding in public, should not be a problem. Areas for the woman that does, would be a nicety for those that wish to use as well, women love choices as well as men when never forced to conform to a social norm, women choose theirs when given options. A woman should not need to carry a gun for men to behave socially appropriate and not as a wild beast untamed, untrainedl!!

by: robertpotter from: boston, Massachusetts
December 31, 2012 11:04 PM
I have been following this horrendous crime since the minute it was posted to give these assailants anything other than the death sentence is a total miscarriage of justice .i would like to know where indian males get the right to murder women because of antiquated beliefs is beyond me as a human being and people call the US a country that violates peoples civil and individual rights .....please take a look at your medieval doctrine towards women.I know if that was my daughter her assailants would not be taking another breath .
In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
January 01, 2013 7:58 PM
well, the human rights groups not gonna be happy if those criminals being executed.
Not long ago, the UN vote more than 100 countries against death penalty. Now listen what they gonna say, LOL

by: Bean Cube
December 31, 2012 7:09 PM
Family of Indian rape victim calls for death penalty?!!!

No!!! Don't let them died, use them for our movement instead. If you killed them, you have no rights for a movement anymore. Keep them alive, document all details about them and the society for your movement. Women, do let them off the hook that easily. Their deaths only make you feel you can forget the anger, but those repeating violence in our society will remind us of horror and fears without the slightest improvement we can demand. Keep them alive and use them for our demands of reforms.

by: FreezeFrame99 from: PA
December 31, 2012 5:29 PM
If India has such a high rape rate, why are so many Indians so upset about this one particular gang rape enough to cancel New Year's festivities over it? Another question....If India has a problem with men believing women are less than equal to men, why are there so many tens of thousands of men protesting against this rape? In the USA where women are more or less perceived as equal to men, we have never seen men protest so vehemently against something that demeans women. American women have never seen that kind of support from American men.
In Response

by: Bean Cube
December 31, 2012 7:17 PM
Don't forget GOP against Planned Parenthood, a lot of men are behind their sons and daughters and their female member of their families. Right wing shallow attitudes and ignorant languages will continue back fires.
In Response

by: Venus from: San Jose
December 31, 2012 6:15 PM
Well said, FreezeFrame!
In Response

by: Lazy from: Wisconsin
December 31, 2012 6:05 PM
If you comment based on what newspapers are saying, you would not get a right answer. If it is written women are less than men, it is not true in all corners. That is the reason why men are protesting--more over, it is brutality.

by: velayat from: Iran
December 31, 2012 4:43 PM
to all of our Indian friends... don't worry... the rape does not tarnish your reputation... there is nothing you could do to tarnish your reputation...
In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
January 01, 2013 7:49 PM
@ D.S from India, R u moron? that is sarcasm!

Your reputation just can't be lower, LOL
In Response

by: D. S from: India
January 01, 2013 12:08 AM
Thanks Velayat from Iran for your warm words.

by: Rick Karaitiana from: Melbourne
December 31, 2012 4:21 PM
Regarding the rape ot the young student in India by six men, there is only one verdict, if proven guilty, and that is execution, it would send a message from the Indian Government to all Indian males that rape will not be tolerated. all eyes will be upon you India, and you will be judged as such..

by: Douglas Beare from: Lakeway, Texas
December 31, 2012 4:01 PM
India has alway been an enigma to me. Westerners have sought out gurus there to enlighten them for over a century. Gandhi is considered one of the "enlightened ones" for his views and practice in passive resistance. How is it such a country skipped over the bit about equal rights for women. I've read that countless wives have been doused in gasoline and set afire by their husbands because the wife's family fell behind on dowry payments. Now news of these brutal rapes and murders of women that go without justice seems to cast doubt on the "enlightenment" and human evolution of the whole Indian culture.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More