India rape victim's ashes scattered, more attacks stoke debate

Tue Jan 1, 2013 12:11pm EST
 

By Sharat Pradhan

LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) - The ashes of an Indian student who died after being gang-raped were scattered in the Ganges river on Tuesday as reports of more attacks stoked a growing national debate on violence against women.

The death of the 23-year-old woman, who has not been named, prompted street protests across India, international outrage and promises from the government of tougher punishments for offenders.

Police on Tuesday confirmed they would push for the death penalty for her attackers - the force can recommend prosecutors pursue particular punishments in Indian trials.

The physiotherapy student was raped and tortured on December 16 by a group of men armed with a metal bar on a private bus in New Delhi, nicknamed India's 'rape capital'. She died from her injuries on Saturday in a Singapore hospital.

Relatives scattered the woman's remains in India's largest river, which is sacred to the Hindu religion, during a small ceremony in the district of Ballia where she was born, a senior local official told Reuters.

"The immersion of the ashes was a private affair, a family affair," said R.M. Srivastava, home secretary of Uttar Pradesh, the state where the ceremony took place.

"NEW YEAR, NEW ATTACKS"

Indian media reported a string of new attacks on Tuesday, including a woman set on fire, allegedly by a stalker, in Uttar Pradesh and another woman stabbed to death in a busy market district of eastern Delhi.   Continued...

 
A demonstrator shouts slogans during a protest in New Delhi December 29, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood