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Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally in New Delhi, yesterday.
NEW DELHI: Protesters carrying banners which read “Death To Rapists” gathered in central New Delhi for a rally yesterday, one month after the deadly gang rape of a student on a bus in the Indian capital.
“A month is over (but) justice is awaited,” read another banner displayed in Jantar Mantar, where police used water cannon to break up a demonstration in the immediate aftermath of the December 16 attack.
Around 300 people gathered there yesterday, some of whom staged a mock funeral for the 23-year-old victim as chants of “We Want Justice” echoed around the district.
Although six people have been arrested over the attack and their case is now being heard in the courts, many Indians are impatient for the victim’s attackers to face justice.
“I will not call off my hunger strike as long as she does not get justice,” said one woman activist Jagjeet Kaur, who said she had been fasting for the past three days.
Other protesters included teenagers and young women who say the authorities are failing to keep them safe in a city dubbed by some as “India’s rape capital”.
“We want to feel secure in our own city because that is our right,” said 15-year-old schoolgirl Soumya Samal, who was among those taking part.
Five adults and a youth believed to be 17 have been charged over the attack, which triggered mass protests across India and pledges by the government to introduce stiffer penalties for sex attackers.
The five adults could face the death penalty if convicted. The 23-year-old victim died 13 days after the attack from horrific internal injuries suffered when she was also violated with a metal rod.
Sankaracharya of Puri Swami Nischalananda dubbed Western influence as a factor for increasing rape incidents.
He said increasing Western influence manifested in the profusion of high-society club culture, in films and the in take of drugs had overshadowed traditional principles and old values.
“When we were not independent, we nursed our values and cultures. But in the last 65 years, there has been a great erosion of values and principles. We have to change this”.
Referring to the Delhi gang rape, he said: “Such incidents take place when the thin line of value system is overshot in the ruse of development”.
Notice to Delhi Police
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) meanwhile issued notice to the Delhi Police for allegedly failing to register a case of trafficking of a minor girl.
“The commission has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report which stated that the police did not register the complaint of a 15-year-old girl who was enticed by a neighbour who sold her,” an official of the NHRC said.
The commissioner of Delhi Police has been asked to submit a report within four weeks.
The incident was reported on January 4, from east Delhi.
“The girl somehow managed to escape. When she went to the police station, Usmanpur, her complaint was not registered,” the NHRC official said.
Family members of the victim also tried to contact helpline 181, but no assistance was provided, he explained.
The NHRC, in its notice to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, observed that the contents of the press report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights.