Protests continue as Delhi gang-rape victim is cremated

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

A young woman who died after being gang-raped and beaten on a bus in India was cremated today amid an outpouring of anger and grief across the country by millions of people demanding greater protection for women from sexual violence.

The cremation took place during a private ceremony in Delhi soon after the 23-year-old woman's body arrived in the capital on a special Air India flight from Singapore, where she died at a hospital on Saturday after being sent for medical treatment.

The tragedy has forced India to confront the reality that female victims of sexual assault are often blamed for the crime, which forces them to keep quiet and discourages them from going to authorities for fear of exposing their families to ridicule. Police often refuse to accept complaints from rape victims, and the rare prosecutions that reach courts can drag on for years.

The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress Party, were at the airport to receive the body and meet relatives of the victim who were on the flight. Security was tight, with no access to the public or media at the crematorium.

The victim, whose identity has been withheld to protect her family, was attacked with her fiancé after they boarded a bus in South Delhi's upmarket Saket neighbourhood as they returned from a cinema trip on 16 December. She was raped repeatedly by six men as the bus cruised the capital's streets. Their brutal assaults were allegedly hidden from view because the bus had tinted windows and closed curtains.

The trainee physiotherapist was also beaten with an iron rod which doctors believe caused the internal injuries that led to her death. She endured three operations, including one to remove 95 per cent of her intestines, and suffered a heart attack before she was airlifted to Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital last Thursday.

Soon after her death on Saturday, police charged six men with murder. A spokesman, Rajan Bhagat, said all of the suspects faced the death penalty if convicted. The case has triggered protests throughout India and raised questions about lax attitudes by police towards sexual crimes. Thousands of Indians lit candles, held prayer meetings and marched through cities and towns, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, on Saturday night to express their grief and demand stronger protection for women and the death penalty for rape.

Yesterday, dozens of protesters tried to break through a police cordon and march to the parliament building in the capital, but were pushed back. The protesters, mainly from the student wing of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, shouted anti-government slogans. Hundreds of police sealed off the high-security area where the seat of government is located, in anticipation of more protests.

But even as thousands mourned the rape victim, in a sign of how pervasive such crimes are police in West Bengal were investigating another suspected gang rape and death.

The family of a woman said she and her husband were attacked as they returned home from work at a brick factory, and that six men dragged the woman into a farm after pouring acid into her husband's mouth.

The woman was found dead with multiple injuries and police detained four men for questioning.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century