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Central & South Asia

Indians call for 'no mercy' in rape case

Gang rape of woman on bus triggers nationwide outrage as three of four accused confess to the crime in court.
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2012 18:37

Students, politicians, and activists across India have come out into the streets demanding no mercy to be shown to the culprits of the New Delhi bus gang rape case - as some of the accused confessed to the crime in a local court.

Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar said four men had been arrested and a search was under way for two others.

Three of the four accused were produced in a local court on Wednesday, where they confessed to the crime.

The court has remanded two of the accused to four-day police custody, while one of them has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

Police say six men raped the 23-year-old medical student, and beat her and her companion with iron rods before throwing them off the bus.

The woman is in critical condition in hospital and doctors say she has severe internal injuries.

In the northern Amritsar state, BJP legislator Nabjot Kaur Sidhu led a group of protesters who put a noose around a man's neck, indicating the only outcome of such a case that was acceptable to them.

Sidhu said criminals were emboldened by the knowledge that loopholes in law enforcement would help them evade punishment, no matter what their crime.

"If the girl's life is ruined, should the culprit not suffer the same? What happens, however, is that the accused walks free on bail, and then harasses the girl, often forcing her to commit suicide. Such cases are increasing because the culprits are told that they are immune from the law," she said.

Call for equal rights

One young woman, who described herself as a student at Delhi University, said there had to be a change of attitude among the authorities, who, she said, tried to pin the blame for sex attacks on victims.

"Women are told that if they go out late at night, they will be raped," said the student in an address to the crowd.

"As a woman I want to say that we are also human beings and you need to treat us as human beings. You will need to give us equal rights.

"It is a question of our fundamental rights... We want to be able to go out in Delhi at midnight if we want."

Earlier on Wednesday, the Delhi police commissioner called for the death penalty for convicted rapists.

"We will seek the most severe punishment of life imprisonment for the culprits and we will send a proposal to the government for the death sentence for rapists," Kumar told reporters.

Rape currently carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison, while the death sentence is restricted to rare cases of murder and "waging war against the country".

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