Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

5 charged in gang rape

Move signals beginning of Indian shift to prosecute sex attacks

  • Print

NEW DELHI -- Five men accused of raping a university student for hours on a bus as it drove through India's capital were charged Thursday with murder, rape and other crimes that could bring them the death penalty.

The attack on the 23-year-old woman, who died of severe internal injuries over the weekend, provoked a fierce debate across India about the routine mistreatment of females and triggered daily protests demanding action.

There have been signs of change since the attack. Rapes, often ignored, have become front-page news, politicians have called for tougher laws, including the death penalty and chemical castration for rapists, and the government is examining wide-scale reforms in the criminal justice system's handling of sexual assaults. Activists say the tragedy could mark a turning point for women's rights.

In a nation where court cases often linger for years, the government set up a special fast-track court Wednesday to deal with crimes against women, and that is where the charges against the five men were filed Thursday evening. The government said it planned to open four more such courts in the city.

Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan filed a case of rape, tampering with evidence, kidnapping, murder and other charges against the men. The charge sheet was not released and he asked for a closed trial. A hearing was set for Saturday.

The men charged were Ram Singh, the bus driver; his brother Mukesh Singh, who cleans buses for the same company; Pavan Gupta, a fruit vendor; Akshay Singh, a bus washer; and Vinay Sharma, a fitness trainer. They did not appear in court. Authorities have said they would push for the death penalty for the men.

The victim's father said he supported the death penalty.

"The toughest and the harshest punishment should be given," he said, adding he thought a new law should be named after his daughter.

A sixth suspect, listed as a 17-year-old, was expected to be tried in a juvenile court, where the maximum sentence would be three years in a reform facility. Police also detained the owner of the bus on accusations he used false documents to obtain permits to run the private bus service.

The Bar Association said its lawyers would not defend the suspects because of the nature of the crime, but the court was expected to appoint attorneys to defend them.

"Strict, strict, strict punishment should be given to them," said Ashima Sharma, an 18-year-old student attending a protest Thursday. "A very strict punishment... that all men of India should be aware that they are not going to treat the women like the way they treated her."

The woman was attacked Dec. 16 after boarding the bus with a male companion after watching an evening showing of the movie Life of Pi at an upscale mall. The vehicle was a charter bus that illegally picked up the two passengers, authorities said.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 4, 2013 A13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Cheap summer weekends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Challenges of Life- Goose Goslings jump over railway tracks to catch up to their parents at the Canadian Pacific Railway terminalon Keewatin St in Winnipeg Thursday morning. The young goslings seem to normally hatch in the truck yard a few weeks before others in town- Standup photo- ( Day 4 of Bryksa’s 30 day goose project) - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / Jan 10  2011 ‚Äì WEB STDUP ‚Äì Frosty morning at -15 degrees C , in pic frost covers the the Nellie McClung statue  on the MB Legislature grounds at 7am

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should political leaders be highly visible on the frontlines of flood fights and other natural disasters?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google