News Demonstrators gather near effigies representing the convicted rapists during a protest in New Delhi in December 2013; the case of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student who was gang-raped caused a lot of anger in the country. The story of a new gun named after the victim has been met with horror and anger from millions across India

Activists call the revolver an abhorrence to the student's memory

A caste of 130 million gets ready to fight for equality

AS INDIA prepares for the 125th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday this year with the launching of a thousand eulogies and the unveiling of statues in towns and villages everywhere, there is little evidence in this land of Gandhi's teachings.

Obituary: Lovraj Kumar

Lovraj Kumar, oil executive, civil servant: born Nainital, Uttar Pradesh 26 August 1926; married (one daughter); died New Delhi 3 February 1994.

Architecture Update: Indian summons

QUINLAN TERRY has been summoned to design a hotel near the Taj Mahal, Agra. Mr Terry, whose work includes the Richmond Riverside development on the Thames in Surrey and the new library for Downing College, Cambridge, says: 'When you spend your life doing the Great Tradition (Classical architecture), designing an Islamic Indian building is like falling off a log.'

Bandit Queen broken by jail

PHOOLAN DEVI, the gun- toting 'Bandit Queen' of India, scourge of high caste Hindus and darling of the country's rural downtrodden, walked out of court in New Delhi yesterday a free woman. She had been in jail for 11 years, awaiting trial after giving herself up.

Indian troops quell riots

More than 500 troops were rushed to Kanpur, in northern India, yesterday to quell riots which flared up after a right-wing Hindu politician was murdered, Tim McGirk writes from New Delhi.

Bandit Queen seeks to escape past with a gun and a prayer

THE Chambal River in central India is also known as the River of Revenge. It runs through a maze of ravines that for centuries has been the abode of marauding bandits. India's most notorious woman outlaw, Phoolan Devi, nicknamed the 'Bandit Queen', will soon be released from prison, and many fear the Chambal will again flow with blood.

Party bust-up

A brawl on the floor of the assembly of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh left at least 50 MPs injured, AFP reports from New Delhi. MPs threw microphones, water glasses and shoes at each other and several were dragged bleeding from the chamber.

Blaming strangers for a family failure

THIS has been the Year of Tortured Children - about as grim a sobriquet as I can imagine attaching to 1993. We have had the massacred innocents in Bosnia, the starving children of Africa, the drowned infants of India. Yet nothing hits home like our own, local, battered and beaten babies.

Letter: Social change in India

Sir: Tim McGirk is right ('India's Untouchables reach for power and change', 3 December) to highlight the role of casteism in Indian polity. However, he is mistaken in saying that the state bureaucracy in Uttar Pradesh is still dominated by Brahmins and other high-caste individuals and any attempt by the new administration to change the status quo could spark off an unprecedented social conflict.

Hindu leaders arrested

Eight Hindu nationalist leaders were arrested yesterday after challenging the Indian government to take them into custody over the destruction of a 16th-century mosque, Reuter reports from Lucknow.

India's Untouchables reach for power and change: The caste system is being challenged as never before, writes Tim McGirk in New Delhi

FOR MORE than a millennium, a rigid social hierarchy has dominated in India, with the priestly upper-caste Brahmins on top, followed by the warrior Kshatriyas, and the Vayshyas, who are farmers and merchants. Beneath them are the Sudras, the manual workers, and lowliest of them all, the outcastes or Untouchables, who do the foulest jobs, sweeping latrines and disposing of carcasses.

Indian voters check advance of Hindu right

MADHYA PRADESH, India's largest state, had long been regarded as an unassailable fortress of right-wing Hindu nationalists. As state assembly elections approached, one member of the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Kailash Joshi, boasted that he would win a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the maximum number of electoral victories in a row.

Hindus fail to regain three Indian states: Lower castes and Muslims unite to elect socialist-untouchable coalition

HINDU militants have failed to regain control of three Indian state assemblies where they had been dismissed from power a year ago following the razing of a mosque by Hindu zealots.

Death brings toll to 11 in India election: 47,000 arrested as 325,000 police deployed in Uttar Pradesh

AT least one person was killed when violence erupted yesterday in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, as millions voted in an election considered crucial for the Prime Minister, P V Narasimha Rao.

Indian truckers gain ground

INDIAN truck drivers, on strike against taxes and corrupt officials, scored their first victory yesterday when the authorities in Maharashtra, one of the country's main industrial states, agreed to their demands. Elsewhere the strike continued for a third day, driving up prices and causing panic buying in some places.
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