In­dia rape protests swell as girl killed

Kuwait Times - - Front Page -

NEW DELHI: Hundreds of In­dian pro­tes­tors took to the streets yes­ter­day as public anger grew over the bru­tal gang-rape and mur­der of a fe­male ve­teri­nary doc­tor, with one MP call­ing for the per­pe­tra­tors to be “lynched”. The demon­stra­tions in New Delhi, Hy­der­abad, Ban­ga­lore and else­where took place as po­lice found the semi-naked body of a six-year-old girl who ap­pears to have been raped and then stran­gled with her school belt in Ra­jasthan.

The spark for the protests was the gang-rape and mur­der by four men of the 27-year-old vet next to a busy road in the out­skirts of Hy­der­abad in south­ern In­dia on Wed­nes­day evening. The men de­flated a tyre on her moped and lured her to a truck yard with the prom­ise of fix­ing it. Po­lice say that the men then raped and mur­dered her be­fore set­ting the body on fire with petrol un­der an iso­lated bridge. Sex­ual vi­o­lence against women is rife in In­dia, and the lat­est case re­called the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional out­rage at the gang-rape and mur­der of a woman by six men on a Delhi bus in 2012.

The protests yes­ter­day saw demon­stra­tors bran­dish plac­ards with slo­gans such as “We want jus­tice”. Some cov­ered their mouths with black cloth, de­mand­ing that the govern­ment pro­vide se­cu­rity and pun­ish the guilty. “I am out­raged be­cause I don’t want to live with that fear,” Kawal­preet Kaur, a stu­dent at the New Delhi rally told AFP. Other marches were ex­pected later on Mon­day, in­clud­ing in the east­ern city of Kolkata. On Satur­day, po­lice used force to dis­perse hundreds of pro­test­ers af­ter they tried to storm into a po­lice station in Hy­der­abad where the four ac­cused were held. They have since been charged.

In par­lia­ment, law­mak­ers yes­ter­day also ex­pressed their an­guish, with Jaya Bachchan, a for­mer ac­tress and now an MP, say­ing the per­pe­tra­tors should be “brought out in public and lynched”. An­other mem­ber de­manded a sex of­fend­ers’ registry and that rapists be cas­trated, as oth­ers blamed the im­mense back­log of cases in the In­dian le­gal system for the rise in sex­ual vi­o­lence.

In Ra­jasthan in the west, a 40-year-old man was ar­rested yes­ter­day fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of the girl’s body a day af­ter she went miss­ing from her school in a

vil­lage near state cap­i­tal Jaipur. In­ves­ti­ga­tors said the pre­lim­i­nary re­port sug­gests that she was raped and throt­tled with her school uni­form belt be­fore be­ing thrown in bushes in a field. “We are ques­tion­ing (the suspect) af­ter lo­cals saw him with the girl near the school be­fore she dis­ap­peared,” lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cer Ram Kr­is­han told AFP.

More than 33,000 rapes were re­ported in In­dia in 2017, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est govern­ment fig­ures that in­cluded more than 10,000 mi­nor vic­tims. But tens of thou­sands of such cases re­main stuck in courts, of­ten hin­der­ing vic­tims and their fam­i­lies as they nav­i­gate the slow and cum­ber­some le­gal system. In 2017, for ex­am­ple, courts only dis­posed off about 18,300 cases re­lated to rape and more than 127,800 such cases re­mained pend­ing at the end of the year. “It’s very frus­trat­ing for the vic­tim. You keep on go­ing to court, and even af­ter ev­i­dence is over, they take a long time to pass the judge­ment,” women’s rights lawyer Flavia Agnes told Reuters.

In the east­ern city of Kolkata, where protests were planned through­out the day, col­lege stu­dent Ban­dana Mon­dal said it was be­com­ing dif­fi­cult to sit back and watch silently. “It is time to hit the road and seek faster pun­ish­ment for the of­fend­ers. The process of law ap­pears slow and there is hardly any de­ter­rent,” she said. At a protest in New Delhi, 19-year-old col­lege stu­dent Aditi Puro­hit said that she was so an­gry and frus­trated that she had left her classes and come out. “If they (the ac­cused) were in front of me, I would have killed them,” she said. — Agen­cies


NEW DELHI: Demon­stra­tors shout slo­gans yes­ter­day to protest against the al­leged rape and mur­der of a 27year-old ve­teri­nary doc­tor in Hy­der­abad.

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