indian authorities have charged five men with the kidnap, gang rape & murder of a woman in delhi, india last month. the 23 year-old female died of her injuries two weeks after the december 16 attack. the five men will be tried in a fast-track court, where they could be handed the death penalty. a sixth suspect is likely to be tried in juvenile court.
the brutally vicious incident has sparked outrage all across the indian continent. the victim's father said he backed calls for the men to be executed if they are found guilty. "the whole country is demanding that these monsters be hanged. i am with them," he told reporters at his home in uttar predesh state. under indian law, neither the woman nor her family can be identified.
the charges were put before a magistrate but will be transferred to a specially launched fast-track court. the trial is expected to start at the weekend. although its mandatory in india for the accused to appear in person to be charged, policemen outside the court said the suspects, who include the driver of the bus, would not be present on thursday for security reasons.
case documents already exceed 1,000 pages - including key testimony from the woman before she died. police say they have scheduled more than 30 witnesses. the bar association said none of its members are willing to defend the suspects; the court is expected to appoint defense lawyers itself. india's chief justice, altamas kabir, warned, despite the strength of public feeling, "a swift trial should not be at the cost of a fair trial." he also told reporters,"let us not lose sight of the fact that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty."
protests have been taking place every day since the attack, with protesters expressing rage over attitudes towards woman in india, while calling for changes to the laws on violence against women. they say woman across india are frequent victims of harassment & sexual assault, reports of crimes against women are not taken seriously & conviction rates are too low.
the bbc's sanjoy majumder in delhi says this is not the first such crime to make the news, but it has touched a raw nerve with the public & could become a watershed case. on wednesday, delhi's chief minister sheila dikshit joined thousands of women on a protest march through delhi to rajghat & called for stringent anti-rape laws. india's junior education minister shashi tharoor suggested a new anti-rape law be named after the victim - whose family said they would not object to such a move.
the woman & a male friend had been to the cinema when they boarded a private bus home in the evening. police have said the men on the bus had been drinking & were taking the vehicle on a joyride. they beat the woman & her companion with iron bars, raped her for nearly an hour & then threw them out of the moving bus into the street.
the press trust of india quoted police sources as saying the driver of the bus tried to run her over after throwing her out, but she was saved by her male friend. she sustained serious injuries to her body & her brain. tragically, she died in a hospital in singapore december 29, where she had been flown in for specialist treatment.
delhi officials have responded to criticism stating they are failing to protect women by announcing a series of measures intended to make the city safer. these include checks on bus drivers & their assistants, more police night patrols & the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains. the government has also set up a committee under a retired supreme court judge to recommend changes to the anti-rape law. additionally, a telephone helpline has been launched for women in distress, connected with police stations across the city.
in what has been seen as an indication of the growing public rage around sexual violence towards women, ironic footage was broadcast on national television last thursday. a member of the ruling congress party in north-eastern assam state - who had been accused of raping a young woman - was being publicly attacked. the video showed a crowd of woman surrounding the man, hitting him & stripping him, before they turned him over to the police.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.