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After Brutal Gang Rape in India, Six Men Charged With Murder, Kidnapping

January 3, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
Six men were arrested and charged with kidnapping, rape and murder after an attack caused the death of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi, India. The case sparked demands for stronger laws, tougher police action and a sustained campaign to change society's views on women. Independent Television News' Geraint Vincent reports.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Five men accused of the brutal gang rape of a university student for hours on a bus in India were charged today. This incident has sparked massive protests.

We begin with this report by Geraint Vincent of Independent Television News.

GERAINT VINCENT: The judicial process has begun in Delhi, but even for the professionals, it’s not moving quickly enough. While lawyers here call for the courts to better protect India’s women, the father of one murdered woman whose anonymity must still be protected called for her killers to be put to death.

WOMAN (through translator): Laws are made by the government, but all I ask is that the law be as tough as it can be. The death penalty is compulsory for a crime so great. The assailants must be hanged. The courts must give these men the death penalty.

GERAINT VINCENT: In a country of more than a billion people, there are dozens of news channels delivering constant coverage of the case of a gang of men who lured a young couple onto a bus with the promise that they would take them home.

According to charges filed today, the men beat them both and then subjected the 23-year-old woman to a sex attack so brutal, she died of her injuries two weeks later. The assault lasted for about an hour, and it took place behind the closed curtains of the bus as it made its way around the streets of South Delhi.

When the gang had finished, they dumped the couple by the side of this road. And police reports say that they tried to finish the woman off here by running her over.

But her boyfriend managed to pull her out of the way. His testimony will now form the basis of the prosecution case, together with what information his girlfriend managed to pass on before she died.

Elsewhere on the streets of the capital, shock has awakened old resentments. One group of protesters told me that they had been brought up to regard sexual harassment as something that had to be endured. They don’t want the same for their daughters.

WOMAN: Nothing has changed. People keep on telling that mind-sets should be changed. It will take another 100 years to change the mind-set. The women of India cannot allow men to keep on raping until the mind-set is changed. That is one issue.

But the — I think it should be a capital punishment. Nothing less than they should be hanged.

GERAINT VINCENT: Horror at what happened on these roads has stretched across India. The legacy of the woman who was raped and beaten and thrown from the bus may yet be just as great.