Delhi tense as rape victim dies

New Delhi: The body of a woman whose gang rape provoked protests and
rare national debate about violence against women in India arrived
back in New Delhi early on Sunday and was quickly cremated at a
private ceremony.The unidentified 23-year-old medical student died from her injuries on
Saturday, prompting promises of action from a government that has
struggled to respond to public outrage.
She had suffered brain injuries and massive internal injuries in the
attack on December 16, and died in hospital in Singapore where she had
been taken for treatment.
She and a male friend had been returning home from the cinema, media
reports say, when six men on a bus beat them with metal rods and
repeatedly raped the woman. The friend survived.
Six suspects were charged with murder after her death.
A Reuters correspondent saw family members who had been with her in
Singapore take her body from the airport to their Delhi home in an
ambulance with a police escort.
Ruling party leader Sonia Gandhi was seen arriving at the airport when
the plane landed and Prime Minister Mannmohan Singh’s convoy was also
there, the witness said.
The body was then taken to a crematorium and cremated. Media were kept
away but a Reuters witness saw the woman’s family, New Delhi’s chief
minister, Sheila Dikshit, and the junior home minister, R P N Singh,
coming out of the crematorium.
Security in the capital remained tight after authorities, worried
about the reaction to the news of her death, had on Saturday deployed
thousands of policemen and closed some roads and metro stations.
Protesters still gathered, in New Delhi and other cities, to keep the
pressure on Singh’s government to get tougher on crime against women.
Last weekend, protesters fought pitched battles with police.
On Sunday, lines of policemen in riot gear and armed with heavy wooden
sticks stood in front of metal barricades closing off roads in New
Delhi. Morning traffic was light.
The outcry over the attack caught the government off-guard. It took a
week for Singh to make a statement, infuriating many protesters.
Issues such as rape, dowry-related deaths and female infanticide
rarely enter mainstream political discourse in India.

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