NEW DELHI >> Scores of protesters gathered near India’s Parliament on Tuesday demanding the death penalty for six men accused of the fatal gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi last month.
The protesters carried placards saying: “Give us Justice, Hang the Rapists,” and shouted slogans before conducting a mock hanging of the men who are facing trial in a special court in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a petition to move the trial out of New Delhi.
The petition, filed by a Delhi-based lawyer, argued that the men would not get a fair trial because of the charged atmosphere in New Delhi following the outcry over the rape and subsequent death of the woman.
The court declared the petition void because the lawyer who filed it was no longer representing one of the defendants.
Also Tuesday, the victim’s family said it would appeal against a ruling by a juvenile court that one of the accused would be tried as a juvenile since he was under 18 when the attack took place.
The juvenile court’s determination means the teenager he will face a maximum term of three years in a reform facility. If tried as an adult, he could face the death penalty if convicted.
The victim’s father, who cannot be identified until the end of the trial because of a gag order, said a bone test should be conducted on the teenager to determine his age.
Meanwhile, the specially appointed fast-track court was separately hearing arguments in the trial of the men charged with attacking the woman and a male friend on a moving bus.
Details of the proceedings were not available because of the gag order against revealing what happens inside the courtroom.
Police say the 23-year-old victim and her friend boarded the bus on Dec. 16 after seeing an evening movie. But the bus turned out to be off-duty and was being driven by a group of friends who, police say, attacked the couple and then took turns raping the woman. They also penetrated her repeatedly with a metal bar, causing massive internal injuries. The two were eventually dumped on the roadside. The woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.
The brutal attack set off nation-wide protests and sparked a national debate about the treatment of women across the country and the inability of law enforcement to protect them.
Since the gang rape, sexual violence has become front-page news nearly every day across the country, with demands that the government do more to protect women and prosecute those that attack them. A government-appointed panel last week announced a wide range of measures on ensuring women safety.