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Father of gang-rape victim urges changes in law

January 29, 2013

Indian protesters shouts slogans during a protest against a gang rape in New Delhi on Jan 6, 2013. Claims of police incompetence and public apathy stirred new anger in the Delhi gang-rape case after the boyfriend of the victim recounted details of the savage attack for the first time. The man was the only witness to the gang-rape of his girlfriend by six men on a moving bus on Dec 16 which has stirred sometimes violent protests against the treatment of women in Indian society and an apparent rise in sex crime. — AFP Photo/File
Indian protesters shouts slogans during a protest against a gang rape in New Delhi on Jan 6, 2013. Claims of police incompetence and public apathy stirred new anger in the Delhi gang-rape case after the boyfriend of the victim recounted details of the savage attack for the first time. The man was the only witness to the gang-rape of his girlfriend by six men on a moving bus on Dec 16 which has stirred sometimes violent protests against the treatment of women in Indian society and an apparent rise in sex crime. — AFP Photo/File

NEW DELHI: The father of an Indian student who died after being gang-raped on a bus has called for changes in the law to allow a teenage suspect to be tried as an adult, local media reported on Tuesday.

The father of the 23-year-old victim said he was shocked that a court ruled that the sixth suspect in the deadly gang-rape case would be tried as a juvenile, facing a maximum prison term of three years if convicted.

“I want to ask the lawmakers if an exception shouldn't be made in this case,” the father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was quoted as saying in the Hindu newspaper.

“We want to be reassured by the government that my right to justice is protected. In this case the accused is hiding behind legal loopholes in the system,” he added.

The victim's family has been among those calling for the juvenile to be tried alongside the five other accused, who face the possibility of being hanged if found guilty of rape and murder charges.

But the Delhi-based Juvenile Justice Board on Monday accepted the school records of the teenage suspect, which states that he was born on June 4, 1995, making him 17.

“The news came in as the family sat down to have its evening meal. Nobody has eaten since then,” the father said from the family's modest one-room accommodation in east Delhi.

The dead woman, a physiotherapy student, suffered massive intestinal injuries during the assault on December 16 in which she was raped and violated with an iron bar.

She died 13 days later after the government flew her to a Singapore hospital in a last-ditch bid to save her life.

Though sexual harassment is commonplace in India and gang-rapes far from rare, the case has touched a nerve, leading to an outpouring of criticism of the treatment of women in Indian society.

A government panel set up to recommend changes to sexual crime laws last week rejected calls for the age at which people can be tried as adults to be lowered to 16 from 18.