india-rape-AFP-670
Indian students and activists shout slogans as they carry torches at India Gate during a protest following the gang-rape of a student in New Delhi, Dec 19, 2012. — Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI: Riot police fired water cannon Wednesday at a protest in New Delhi over the gang-rape of a 23-year-old student who was left fighting for her life as outrage against the brutal attack grew across India.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh joined his ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi in condemning Sunday night's “heinous” assault by six drunken man who were joyriding on a bus when they picked up the woman and a male companion.

After taking turns to rape the woman, the attackers then threw the pair off the vehicle.

Four people, including the bus driver, have so far been arrested, while a hunt is ongoing for two other suspects.

As the government tried to address the anger with series of steps, protests spread to other major cities including Mumbai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

Police used water cannon on one group of demonstrators as they tried to tear down steel barricades outside the official residence of Delhi's Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Before the violence broke out, protesters carrying banners chanted: “We want equal rights for women.”

“Women don't feel safe in the city, this is appalling,” said 18-year-old student protester Jayesha Koushik.

“The blame is always put on the women. 'She was not wearing the right dress, she was out at the wrong time, she must have provoked it'. How can you blame the women for rape?”

“Rapes are happening to teach women a lesson,” said Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women's Association who was among the protesters.

Even Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan weighed in by calling on his Facebook page for “every Indian (to) become a vigilante, a soldier, a commander” to “fight such heinous crimes with strength and conviction”.

National crime records show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year were aimed against women.

Rape cases in India more than doubled between 1990 and 2008. Sunday night's case was the latest in a series of particularly brutal attacks in the capital.

“It's a heinous crime. It is very upsetting,” Prime Minister Singh told a parliamentary delegation which met him to discuss the latest attack.

Singh said he had asked Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to “ensure that (the) culprits are brought to justice and such cases do not recur”, according to the Press Trust of India.

Shinde announced in parliament that there would be a crackdown on buses having tinted glass and heavy curtains — measures that should already be in force.

Congress's Gandhi who is India's most powerful politician, described the attack as a source of shame for the capital after she paid a visit Tuesday to the hospital where the brutalised victim is being treated.

“Such violence and criminality needs not only to be condemned, it calls for a concerted effort to fight it,” Gandhi said in a letter to Dikshit.

Hospital doctors have been shocked by the extent of the rape victims' injuries. “They cannot be described in words”, a surgeon who did not want to be named told AFP.

The rape took place over a period of more than 40 minutes on Sunday in a bus which had stopped to pick up the two victims who had spent the evening at a cinema.

“They began molesting the girl and her companion bravely fought back trying to save her but these men attacked him with an iron rod,” police commissioner Neeraj Kumar said on Tuesday.

“The victim was dragged to the rear of the bus and brutally beaten and raped.”

Three of the suspects appeared before a city magistrate on Wednesday where a police request for a custody extension was granted.

Kumar demanded the death penalty for people convicted of rape, a crime that currently carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.

More From This Section

India goes to polls in biggest voting day

Voters lined up in 121 constituencies across a dozen states in the largest single day of polling in the election.

Bangladesh files contempt case against British reporter

The case was launched for allegedly criticising the war crime tribunal and questioning the death toll from the 1971 war.

Taliban negotiator under house arrest in UAE, says Afghanistan

The Afghan govt says Agha Jan Mutassim, a finance minister during Taliban rule, has been missing for over a week

Fears grow for hundreds missing in S. Korea ferry capsize

A total of 375 high school students were on board, travelling with their teachers to the popular island resort of Jeju.


Comments are closed.

Comments (13)

Sneha
December 20, 2012 1:26 pm
These rapists should be brutally punished. They should made to suffer like the victim and then should be hanged. These ppl dn't deserve to live.
Uzair
December 20, 2012 11:57 am
I sincerely hope those rapists are punished severely for their heinous crimes and the Government of India does waste any time bringing them to justice. To the victims, my sincerest prayers and wishes. You are not alone, we are with you.
ria
December 20, 2012 3:46 pm
the rapist should be beaten in public and get killed in front of everyone ..so that no one can courage to do so again
Masood Mehdi
December 20, 2012 1:29 pm
I have once visited the Dubai, and I have seen the freedom of Woman. It is the matter of Law and Order and its implementation. Same as in Europe and western countries. Women have protection from the Country.
ankit
December 20, 2012 5:44 pm
that the problem yaar justice in india take too long and for heinous crime& maximum punishment for rapeist is only 7 years .
Ranjini
December 20, 2012 6:04 pm
10 years punishment will not be sufficient. Both the hands of these six people should be chopped off. They should regret for their mistake through out their life
chris rade
December 20, 2012 6:25 pm
its disgusting!!! i cant believe this type of people exists in this world!!
mansoor
December 20, 2012 6:36 pm
Disgusting! What a shameful act of those called men. Its big hypocrisy in our male oriented sub continent society, men may respect, their mother, sister that means they respect a forcible relation, which was not in their control but do not respect a woman. Social animal does need social ethics to follow, otherwise may call himself something else. Terrible psychological trauma to the individual and her family which may last for whole life. My prayers and thoughts are with them.
Human
December 20, 2012 6:53 pm
This is a very sad news. This should not happen to any woman in the world. One of the guy who rapped the girl had asked to hang him because he is very ashamed of his crime. Indian Government, please listen to him and give him what he deserves and the rest.
G.A.
December 20, 2012 7:16 pm
This is really sad. Full support to the people of India in their struggle to bring justice to this victim and prayers for the victim and her family.
Haider
December 21, 2012 5:36 am
Death penalty is a must for Gang Rape. 10 years means criminals will be out in 5 years???
prafulla shrivastva
December 21, 2012 7:03 am
My heart is broken when I imagine if this happened to my daughter, how I will digest it? How her father has managed this I do not understand. Instead of blaming on dresses of our daughters, I feel they should be allowed to make more independent, they should be given more education & care with protection. If that girl would have been trained with martial arts, she could have protected her from those animals. Every where women face this problem we just read & ignore. I remember about Mukhtar Mai of Pakistan, how much she has suffered.
Ajay Vikram Singh
December 21, 2012 6:00 pm
Its more of a huge cultural change that's bringing out this gender-clash on different levels in the society. A part of India is educated, urban, progressive, feminist, liberal, highly productive and future oriented and young generation is at the center of that. On the other hand, most of administration, judiciary, political classes, rural population, uneducated labor class, poor living in slums, all these and older generation in general live by older order of things. They cant accept or handle young, educated, independent women living life on their own terms. The cultural, social, economic change has been so sudden and its impact so multi-dimensional that its tough for even the bright, educated minds. Police force and judiciary, political and administration class in general is mostly comprised of older men who come from past generation, that lived in a highly patriarchal and conservative society. they are almost insensitive to the plight and dangers of young, urban women and girls in general. I guess, its not exactly a law-n-order or a legal problem. Its a cultural and social issue. May be its the necessary evil - the cost of development and progress and freeing up of indian women in general. Nothing worth achieving has ever come without a cost and freedom is the highest virtue that demands highest sacrifices. Men in our part of the world being hypocrites that they are doesn't help the cause at all.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Poll
From The Newspaper
Tweets