Delhi gang rape trial begins

STORY: The trial of five of the six accused, in the brutal gang rape of the 23-year-old woman that stunned India and grabbed global headlines, began in New Delhi on Tuesday (February 05).

The five accused rapists were taken out in a police vehicle on Tuesday morning from Delhi’s highly fortified Tihar jail to the court where the trial was to begin later in the day.

A fast track court in New Delhi had framed charges on Saturday (February 02), against five of the six persons accused in the gangrape and murder of a physiotherapist, in a case that led to a shake-up of laws against sexual crimes after protests about a rising number of attacks on women.

However, the accused men have pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against them.

The victim was tortured with an iron rod and raped on a moving bus in the capital on December 16. She was then thrown bleeding onto the street along with a male friend who was also beaten. She died of organ failure in a Singapore hospital two weeks later.

The case brought thousands of protesters onto the streets and ignited intense public debate over the failure of the police and the government to stem rampant violence against women in India.

A strictly enforced media blackout on the court proceedings means there will likely be few details about the trial, leaving many with unanswered questions about an attack that was shocking in its brutality.

The upsurge of popular protests against the case have got most young minds of the nation to reflect on the issues of rape and crimes against women, which are rampant in India.

Kumar Saurav, a student at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said it was necessary to change the people’s mindset to eradicate such crimes.

“If these (the accused rapists) are found guilty then I don’t think that death penalty is the ultimate solution, because you are just killing the criminals. You are not killing the crime, because these are happening and many of these cases are not reported. So we have to change the mentality. We have to counsel these people who have these criminal types of tendencies,” he said.

A sixth accused will be tried as a juvenile in a separate court, a special panel ruled this week after it accepted school records showing him to be 17 years old. If convicted the teenager would receive a maximum of three years in jail.