Shelby: Bitter protests have been replacing New Years celebrations all across India this week.
Rosie Abraham: We are gathered here for justice. We just want justice.
Shelby: The anger is over the brutal rape of a 23-year-old medical student a few weeks ago. She was attacked by six men on a moving bus in India’s capital of New Delhi. And she died on Saturday.
The violent attack sparked outrage across India. Young people are demanding tougher rape laws and better police protection in their country, where they say female victims are often ignored by both the community and authorities.
After weeks of protests, five of the victim’s alleged attackers were charged with gang rape and murder along with other offenses yesterday. If convicted, they could receive a death sentence or a life in prison.
Prosecutors say they will push for the death penalty and many, including the victim’s family, want the suspects hanged.
Rallyist: Being a woman, I feel it’s not just about these six people who have been arrested. It’s about everything that goes wrong against women. It’s about child abuse. It’s about domestic violence. It’s about rape. It’s about molestation, even teasing.
Shelby: A new generation of young people is now challenging deep-rooted sexism in India, the world’s largest democracy. But it will be a long fight.
For every 100 men, there are now only 94 women, and that number is dropping because female babies are routinely aborted by couples who want sons. That may help explain why violence against women is on the rise.
Crime statistics in India show a 25% increase in reported rapes from 2006 to 2011. On average, a rape is reported every twenty minutes India. And out of the more than 600 rape reports in New Delhi alone last year, so far, only one has resulted in a conviction.
Yet, this latest case could be a turning point for the country.
Manish Tewari: This unfortunate incident should really become the trigger for both updating our laws, as well as ensure that the wheels of justice turn expeditiously.
Shelby: The Indian government is setting up new fast track courts to hold timely trials in sexual assault cases. Similar cases have taken years to move through India’s slow court system.
And lawmakers are also considering a proposal to toughen anti-rape laws in India, offering up hope that the new year will bring better protection and new respect for women.
Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.