Gang -rape victim dead, accused to face murder charges
Delhi Police on Saturday invoked murder charges against the six men allegedly involved in the gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus after she died in a Singapore hospital and decided to file the charge-sheet in court on January 3.
The death of the girl sparked countrywide protest and anguish. Mourners included film stars like Jaya Bachchan, Hema Malini, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar at a candle-light homage at Bandra in Mumbai. Delhi remained the epicenter of student’s anger with sit-ins at Jantar Mantar.
The girl had bravely fought for survival for 13 days in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital despite the brutal nature of her internal injuries. A panel of expert doctors did their best to keep hopes alive for the victim. Finally a heart attack and multiple organ failure led to her collapse at the Singapore hospital.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police said it will be their endeavor to ensure the "harshest punishment in the book" to the culprits. "We hope to file the charge sheet by the 3rd of January, 2013. Section 302 of IPC, which is the penal section for murder, has been added in the case," Dharmendra Kumar, special commissioner of police (law and order), said.
He said a special public prosecutor of eminence has been appointed to conduct the trial in a fast track court on a day-to-day basis. "It will be our endeavor to ensure the harshest punishment in the book to the culprits," he said.
The autopsy of the victim was done by a Singaporean medical team and the report will be made available to investigators at the earliest. "In this moment of national grief following the loss of a young and innocent life to a barbaric crime, we appeal to members of public to stay calm and maintain peace. "We, in Delhi Police, as citizens of this country are equally saddened, if not more. Our sympathy goes out to the bereaved family," he said.
Police had initially booked the six men under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (destruction of evidence), 365 (kidnapping or abducting), 376 (2)(g) (gang rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 394 (hurting in committing robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
The girl had boarded the bus, thinking it to be a legitimate public carriage, from Munirka in South Delhi but was attacked and gang-raped even as her male friend accompanying her tried to protect her. He was also injured in the incident.
The arrested persons are driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Akshay Thakur, Pavan and Vinay. The sixth person apprehended claimed that he is a minor and police have sought the court's permission to get a bone test to ascertain his age.
Delhi CM hooted out
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit faced public rage when she was forced to return from Jantar Mantar where she went to take part in mourning the death of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim. Dikshit reached Jantar Mantar where around 500 people gathered for mourning the death of the girl at around 2pm but had to beat a hasty retreat as enraged protesters circled and forced her to return.
The chief minister and police tried to reason with the protesters and allow her to be part of the gathering but the demonstrators were in no mood to oblige. However before leaving Jantar Mantar, she lit a candle and prayed for the departed soul. "I had gone there to express my grief at the death of the girl," she said when asked about her visit to Jantar Mantar.
"Do you want to politicize somebody's death. Why didn't she come when the protests first began? She even asked police to remove us when we protested outside her residence," a protester said. Within minutes, Ms Dikshit was escorted out of the area by police.
Sonia Gandhi’s anguish
Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said the government had heard the people’s voice demanding an end to crime against women. “I want to assure you that your voice has been heard,” she said in a statement after the death of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim died in a Singapore hospital.
Ms. Gandhi said she was aware that people had taken to the streets in large numbers in support of the victim. As a woman and mother, she said, she shared the people’s concerns following the Delhi gang-rape and growing violence against women.
She urged the people to remain calm and “help strengthen our collective resolve” to stop such crimes. Stating that the young woman’s death won’t go in vain, she said all Indians were grieving today.
“It is our resolve to fight with all our might and all the powers of our laws and administration for the safety and protection of all women of our country and to ensure swift and fitting punishment for the perpetrators of such brutal acts,” Ms. Gandhi said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday broke his silence on the ghastly incident calling for introspection and resolve to ensure the security and dignity of women. “My heart goes out to the family of the young girl and millions of young Indians, families who work, hope and pray for a better India. We as a nation must reflect on the events of the days gone by,” Rahul Gandhi said, offering his deep condolences to the young girl’s family.
As citizens, we must resolve to respect the dignity of women and follow the laws of the land, he said. “I join my mother and sister in offering deep felt condolences to the young girl’s family, My thoughts and prayers are with the family,” Rahul Gandhi said in his message.
- Asian Tribune -