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India pays tribute to Delhi gang-rape victim on her birth anniversary

Sunday, 11 May 2014 - 9:53am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: ANI

  • nirbhaya The young physiotherapy intern was gang raped in a moving bus on the outskirts of Delhi in December 2012 dna Research & Archives

Tearful tributes were paid on Saturday to the young physiotherapy intern on her 26th birth anniversary, who was gang-raped in a moving bus on the outskirts of Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012.

Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, who was present on the occasion, said he felt empathy for the Delhi brave heart's parents, and that he was there to support them in their difficult time. "I came here because I have special understanding and consolation for parent's of Delhi gang-rape victim. As what torment they have faced is beyond the imagination of a lot of us. Their pain and grief is very deep. But, I get encouragement from the pain they have borne with. Moving ahead of this pain, they have resolved that they will serve the country" said Khurshid.

Acid attack victim Laxmi, who is the chief campaigner and the face of the Stop Acid Attacks movement, was also present. She launched the Nirbhayajyoti Trust website.

On December 16, 2012, six men attacked the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist and her male friend on the bus while both were returning home after watching a movie. The attackers repeatedly raped the girl and penetrated her with a metal bar before dumping her and her friend, naked and semi-conscious, onto the road.

Her friend later recovered, but the woman's internal injuries were so severe that she died in a Singapore hospital two weeks after the attack. Gym instructor Vinay Sharma, bus cleaner Akshay Kumar Singh, fruit-seller Pawan Gupta, and unemployed Mukesh Singh were sentenced to death for their part in the gang-rape and killing of the 23-year-old woman in December 2012. During the seven-month trial, a fifth defendant hanged himself in his cell. A sixth, who was under 18 at the time of the attack, was sentenced to three years' detention, the maximum allowed under juvenile law.

In his original sentencing of the four, the trial judge said India's courts "cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong deterrent message to the perpetrators of such crimes". The case turned a global spotlight on the treatment of women in India, where police say a rape is reported every 20 minutes.

However, even after two years of the tragic incident and enactment of stringent laws, India is struggling to tame violence against women and change the chauvinistic attitude of men. The case led to the introduction of tougher rape laws, and for the first time open debates about gender crime were held on television and social media.

India has a clutch of powerful women politicians, including Sonia Gandhi, the president of the ruling Congress Party, but the realities for many Indian women is that discrimination against them and female foeticide are common.

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