Public fury over New Delhi gang rape sparks protest across India

NEW DELHI Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:59pm IST

1 of 5. Women participate in a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with a rape victim at India Gate in New Delhi December 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The gang-rape of a young woman in New Delhi has sparked public outrage across India, bringing thousands of people onto city streets in protest against authorities' failure to ensure women's safety.

Sexual violence against women often goes unremarked and unreported in India, but on Friday hundreds of students and activists blockaded roads in New Delhi and marched to the president's palace, breaking through police barricades despite water-canon fire to demand the culprits' execution.

The 23-year-old woman is battling for her life in hospital after she was beaten, gang-raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus on a busy street of the capital last Sunday.

Five people accused of the attack have been arrested.

"No amount of pepper spray, tazers or 'decent dressing' will protect women. I can't let my little girl grow up in a society where men pounce on and rape women," said Bharat Kapur, whose 5-year-old daughter clung to his leg as hundreds shouted with clenched fists at a protest in New Delhi.

The public verbal and physical sexual harassment of women, known as "eve-teasing", is routine in New Delhi, which has come to be known as India's "rape capital".

Last week's case - covered intensively by TV news networks - provoked uproar in both houses of parliament earlier this week, prompting the authorities to announce measures to make the capital safer for women. These include increased policing and fast-tracking court hearings for rape.

New Delhi, home to about 16 million people, has the highest number of sex crimes among India's mega cities. Police figures show rape is reported on average every 18 hours and some other form of sexual attack every 14 hours in the capital.

Marches, demonstrations and candlelight vigils have spread during the week to cities in states from the north of the country to the south.

"The system that is supposed to protect women is not doing enough, whether it is the police or the judicial system," said Tapas Praharaj, secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association in Odisha state, where a protest is planned for Saturday.

In the northeastern state of Assam, hundreds of women and girls marched through the city of Guwahati, carrying placards and shouting "Hang Rapists" and "Stop Violence Against Women".

(Additional reporting by Biswajyoti Das in GUWAHATI; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (5)
comnsense4all wrote:
@scythe Were you brainwahsed at your church? The caste system is non-functional and even at its worst state, it was far far better than your slavery and continued bias against minorities!

Dec 21, 2012 10:09pm IST  --  Report as abuse
commonsense_rqd wrote:
if this were to happen in the US, there would be a group demanding the outlaw of all penis’s and enacting further penis controls, with a possible collection of all penis’s for destruction.

Dec 21, 2012 1:03am IST  --  Report as abuse
carrie53 wrote:
Never has a wiser suggestion been made – destroy all the penises that destroy women’s lives….make them suffer like they have made suffer carrie 53

Dec 21, 2012 7:42am IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

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