Delhi gang rape victim's funeral held in India


Indian protestors march behind a banner as they take part in a candlelight procession in Guwahati on December 29, 2012, after the death of a gang rape victim from the Indian capital New Delhi. Indian leaders appealed for calm and security forces headed off fresh unrest by turning New Delhi into a fortress after a student who was savagely gang-raped died in a Singapore hospital. Police threw a ring of steel around the centre of the Indian capital after news of the 23-year-old medical student's death was broken in the early hours by the Singapore hospital that had been treating her for the last two days.



The young woman who died after being gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi has been cremated after her body was returned to India for her funeral.

According to BBC News, her body was returned from Singapore to India on a plane chartered by the Indian government. Indian Prime Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party, were at the airport to receive the body and meet the family members of the victims who were also on the flight.

The 23-year-old victim died early Saturday after she was transported to Singapore for treatment.

"The patient passed away peacefully at 4:45 am on 29 Dec. 2012," a statement from Mount Elizabeth Hospital said, according to BBC News, adding that the 23-year-old's family was by her side.

The victim's death sparked new protests in the capital. GlobalPost's correspondent in New Delhi reported:

“We want...justice! We want...justice,” a section of the crowd at Jantar Mantar shouted, exhorted by a leader with a microphone. Others wore black ribbons over their lips in a futile effort to adhere to an earlier plea for a “silent protest.” And still others marched up and down New Delhi's famous protest block, shouting in Hindi, “Phansi do!” (Hang them!).

A peaceful protest at Jantar Mantar became violent on Sunday, when a group of students clashed with police over their request to march being denied, the Times of India reported. Five people were detained over the clashes, but have since been released. 

"The sincere protesters have repeatedly been angered by attempts to turn the rape to political advantage, and earlier blamed political actors for starting the violence that led to clashes with the police last week," explained GlobalPost's correspondent Jason Overdorf.

"Also, given India's general loathing for the political class, getting the political parties involved is an almost surefire way to kill a grassroots protest movement, as the fizzling of the 2011 anti-corruption protests after the BJP and Babu Ramdev jumped on the bandwagon showed." 

The six suspects in the case now face the death penalty as they have all been charged with murder after the victim's death, the Times of India reported.

Several lawyers have refused to represent the accused in the trial, calling the crime too heinous to be defended, according to the Indian Express

Justice Usha Mehra, a former New Delhi high court judge who was appointed by the government to investigate the gang-rape case, however, said that though attorneys cannot be made to appear for clients, the judge presiding over the trial is allowed to supply lawyers to the accused, the Indian Express reported. 

Those arrested include the driver of the bus, a juvenile, and four adult males. According to the Hindustan Times, the Delhi Police have decided to file a 1000 charge sheet by Jan 3. 

Singh said that he understood the country's angry reaction to the attack and said that he hoped that Indians would find a way to work together to make appropriate changes.

“It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channel these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action,” he said, the Irish Times reported.