The body of a woman who was gang raped and beaten on a bus in India’s capital has been cremated amid protests and mourning in the country.
The woman’s body has been cremated in a private ceremony soon after it arrived on a special Air India flight from Singapore.
Al Jazeera reports that the 23-year-old woman died on Saturday after she was sent to Singapore for medical treatment. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, along with head of the ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, were present at the airport when her body arrived.
They also met with the victim’s family members, who arrived on the flight as well. Indian police charged six men who have been taken into custody over the woman’s gang rape and beating. They charged the men with murder, as well as rape and several other charges stemming from the case.
After her rape on December 16, the woman was taken to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth hospital, because it specializes in multi-organ transplants. She stayed in critical condition until she took a turn for the worse and passed away.
Fox News adds that thousands of Indians mourned the woman’s death, lighting candles, holding prayer meetings, and marching through cities and towns to express their grief. They also demanded stronger protection for women and the death penalty for rape, which is currently punishable by life in prison.
Women face harassment across India from catcalls to groping and touching and even rape. The tragedy appears to be a catalyst for change in the country with law enforcement and the government forced to confront the very real issue that sexually assaulted women are often blamed for the crime.
They are discouraged from reporting it out of fear that they will expose their families to ridicule. Police also often refuse to accept complaints when the women are brave enough to report them. Prime Minister Singh has assured that this time the young woman’s death will not be in vain.