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Delhi rape: Thousands light candles across India

December 31, 2012 10:28 IST

Following a day of protests on Sunday across India over the brutal rape of a 23-year-old medical student, several cities held silent candle light vigils to remember the young woman.

Light a candle for the Delhi rape victim

The gang rape provoked protests and rare nationwide debate about violence against women in India.

In New Delhi, where the attack took place, a petition calling for the death penalty for rape gathered 100,000 signatures.

"In this petition we have put demands addressed to the government and the Chairperson of National Women's Commission that the penalty for rape should only be the death sentence and nothing else," said Bharvik Aggarwal, chair of the Indraprastha Sanjivini Trust.

New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India's major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, police figures show. Reported rape cases rose by nearly 17 per cent between 2007 and 2011, according to government data.

"Being a woman, I feel it is not just about these six people who have been arrested. It is about everything that goes wrong against women. It is about child abuse, it is about domestic violence, it is about rape, it is about molestation, even teasing. And a very simple thing that we can do, both men and women, is that we need to raise our voices," said Anjali, a protester in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

"If we see anything wrong happening, we need to raise our voice. If it is happening with us, we need to raise our voice. If it is in our surroundings that something wrong is happening, we need to raise our voice," she added.

"Actually we are not just protesting against the rape case that took place in Delhi. Many more rape cases are occurring daily all over the country. We have to stop this. So some changes must be made in the judiciary system and the administrative setup must be changed or strengthened," said Atul Pathak, who attended a candlelit vigil in Guwahati, Assam.

The unidentified 23-year-old victim of the December 16 gang rape died of her injuries on Saturday (December 29), prompting promises of action from a government that has struggled to respond to public outrage.

The medical student had suffered brain injuries and massive internal injuries in the attack and died in hospital in Singapore where she had been taken for treatment.

Six suspects were charged with murder after her death and face maximum penalty when convicted.

 

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