News / Asia

India Gang Rape Trial Begins as Country Rethinks Justice System

Delhi policemen stand guard near the gate of a district court where the accused in the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student are undergoing trial, in New Delhi, India, Jan. 24, 2013.
Delhi policemen stand guard near the gate of a district court where the accused in the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student are undergoing trial, in New Delhi, India, Jan. 24, 2013.
Aru Pande
Five suspects accused in the brutal gang rape in India's capital arrived in a fast-track court for the start of their trial. The proceedings begin a day after a government panel issued recommendations to overhaul the Indian justice system's handling of crimes against women.
Unlike their previous court appearances, the start of the suspects' trial for rape and murder began quietly in New Delhi and with little media coverage, since the proceedings were closed to the public.

Brutal Gang Rape Shocks India

  • 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

  • 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
Six men, including a juvenile, are accused of brutally beating and gang raping a student after she boarded a bus in the Indian capital with a male friend on December 16.  The 23-year-old woman was later flown to a Singapore hospital for treatment and died two weeks later after sustaining massive internal injuries.

The fact prosecutors could present their arguments Thursday, so soon after the attack, is a first in a country where it can take years for criminal acts to be prosecuted.  The fast-track court was created directly in response to what many here see is a failure in the country's justice system.

Sudha Sundaraman is with the All India Democratic Women's Association.

"It has followed upon a case that has galvanized the whole nation, raised the public conscience, said Sudha.  "And I do believe that the government has to therefore listen to the voice and the concerns."

India's New Fast-Track Court

  • Inaugurated January 2, 2013 by India's chief justice
  • Will try sexual offense cases against women
  • Will hear cases on a daily basis
  • Is the first of five fast-track courts that will deal with rape
  • Located in the district court complex in New Delhi
A government-appointed panel issued a scathing report Wednesday highlighting the system's failure to enforce laws that protect women from violence and harassment.  

Acting upon thousands of suggestions from the public and rights activists, the commission called on police to register each and every rape case and said such trials should be held in a speedy manner.  The panel also suggested that stalking, voyeurism and other forms of sexual harassment be punishable with prison terms.

While activist Sundaraman praised the panel report as a step in the right direction, she acknowledged that true change must come from society as a whole and that she must rely on her own instincts to ensure her safety.

"If it is night, and if I am returning say from somewhere late in the night by train, then I find that I do not feel so secure," Sundaraman said.

It is a sentiment shared by many women here in India's capital, who hope that some change can come from such a horrific tragedy.

  • A Delhi policeman stands guard near the gate of a district court where the accused in a gang rape are undergoing trial, in New Delhi, India, January 24, 2013.
  • A man wearing a mask of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh participates in a protest along with women outside the court where the accused in the gang rape will be tried, in New Delhi, India, January 21, 2013.
  • A boy places a candle as demonstrators hold placards during a candlelight march for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi, January 16, 2013.
  • Students protest the alleged inaction by the Indian government in the case of the gang rape of a 23-year-old student in a bus in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2013.
  • 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.
  • Indians sing devotional songs during a gathering to mourn the death of a rape victim in New Delhi, India, January 5, 2013.
  • Protesters shout slogans as they hold placards and banners during a protest demanding the judicial system act faster against rape, outside a district court in New Delhi, India, January 3, 2013.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs