Indian police have charged six men with murder after a young woman who was gang raped on a bus in New Delhi died from multiple injuries at a Singapore hospital.
Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said the six men will face the death penalty if convicted, said The Guardian.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the 23-year-old student was gang-raped on December 16 after a cinema outing with a male friend.
After the pair boarded a bus in Delhi, they were set upon by six men, who repeatedly raped the woman, beat her with an iron bar, then inserted the iron bar into her body causing massive organ damage. The couple were then stripped and thrown off the moving bus by their attackers.
Following a 10-day stay in a hospital in New Delhi, the student was dramatically airlifted to the Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore on Thursday. Renowned for its state of the art organ transplant facilities, the woman died early on Saturday morning after the extent of her injuries finally proved too much.
Even though six men have been arrested and charged, India is bracing for more of the daily protests that have sparked in New Delhi, Manipur and other parts of India in response to the attack on the young student, ABC News reports.
Hundreds of protesters have already gathered by India Gate in Delhi. Some carrying placards, some have covered their eyes and/or mouths with cloth, referencing the ‘Hear no evil, See no evil’ policy that many say exists in India regarding sex crimes against women, said the BBC.
The Times of India reports that India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh has attempted to pacify protesters, releasing a condolence message that read: (in part)
“We have already seen the emotions and energies this incident has generated. These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change. It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channel these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action.”
“I want to tell them and the nation that while she may have lost her battle for life, it is up to us all to ensure that her death will not not have been in vain.”
According to theDaily Telegraph, Indian authorities have shut down India Gate in the capital, New Delhi, and 10 metro stations and major roads leading to Delhi’s central areas. These moves are intended to prevent an escalation of the near daily protests that have been taking place in the capital for the last two weeks since the attack, that prompted a violent police response.
Community leaders are also urging people to remain calm. Krishna Tirath, India’s Woman and Child Development Minister said:
“Today the victim is not with us and I express my grief. First of all, we must maintain calm. Several measures are needed to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.”
India’s Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, said the young woman’s death is an opportinity for India to reappraise its attitude towards sexual violence.
“May the young girl’s soul rest in peace, and give her bereaved family the courage to bear this terrible loss and also all of us the courage to reflect on what we should do in future so that no such incident ever takes place anywhere.”
The prime minister has ordered an inquiry into the gang-rape and alleged lapses in the police investigation. To that end, two police officers have already been suspended. In addition, Mr. Singh said new laws with stiffer penalties were needed to protect Indian women from sex crimes, said ABC News.
These measures will, reportedly, include a recruitment drive to encourage more female officers to join the police.
India’s junior Home Minister, Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh, has also announced plans to name and shame convicted rapists by posting their names, photos and addresses on the Delhi Police website.
Alarming official figures show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year were against women, with the number of rapes in the capital rising 17 per cent between 2007 and 2011, to 661 this year, ABC News reports.
Known as the “rape capital” of India, Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India’s major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, the Daily Telegraph notes.
Aanchal Anand, a 27-year old Indian graduate student who lives in Washington, D.C, told RT:
“This is extremely sad. But unfortunately that’s what it is like in India. The culture reeks of misogyny and the authorities make it worse by blaming the victim for being out late at night or not dressing properly. It’s not fun being a woman in India.”
The family of the gang-rape victim has called for the “strongest possible sentence” to be handed down to the suspects, if they are convicted, ABC News reports.
The young woman’s body is already in transit from Singapore to New Delhi. India’s media have dubbed the woman “Braveheart,” “India’s daughter,” and “Amanat” meaning treasure, said The Guardian.