NEW DELHI – India witnessed on Monday a number of street protests and heated debates in parliament, demanding harsher punishments for sexual violence after a young veterinarian was gang-raped and brutally murdered in southern city of Hyderabad.
Hundreds of demonstrators turned up for a protest in the center of capital New Delhi, carrying placards and demanding an end to violence against women.
Poonam, the general secretary of the Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan (Progressive Women’s Organization) and one of the organizers, told EFE that they were demanding “scientific and rapid” investigations and “rapid and fair” trials into cases of rampant sexual violence in the country.
Protests were also held in other major cities, including the eastern metro of Kolkata and Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana state, where the gruesome incident took place last week and caused outrage across the country.
The victim, a 26-year-old vet, was waylaid by a group of four men, who first deflated the tires of her motorcycle and on the pretext of helping her in getting it repaired, carried the woman to a room where she was gang-raped before being strangled.
The accused then allegedly burned the corpse after dousing it with petrol.
Revanth Reddy, a member of the parliament representing Telangana and the opposition party Indian National Congress, took part in Monday’s protest in New Delhi and tweeted that the culprits should be hanged.
The parliament also saw fierce debate on the issue on Monday, with repeated calls for rapid and exemplary punishment for the culprits to prevent a repetition of the crime.
“These types of people (the rape accused in the Telangana case) need to be brought out in public and lynched,” said Jaya Bachchan, a member of the upper house of parliament and wife of famous Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan.
Another lawmaker, Vijila Sathyanath of the regional AIADMK, said the accused should be hanged “before Dec. 31.”
Laws against sexual violence were strengthened in India after a young university student was raped and tortured by six men in a moving bus in New Delhi in 2012, a case which led to nationwide protests and discussion on sexual violence and was seen as a turning point on the issue, although similar cases have continued to take place since then. .
India was in 2018 ranked as the world’s most dangerous place for women due to the high risk of sexual violence, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey.
A report by India’s National Crime Records Bureau that collects nationwide crime data, police across the country registered nearly 360,000 cases of violence against women in 2017.
The report published last month for the latest year to be surveyed suggests that the number of such has been increasing and, in 2016, it was 338,000 while 320,000 cases were registered in 2015.
“Cruelty by husband or his relatives” accounted for nearly 28 percent of the crimes against women while “assaults with intent to outrage her modesty” comprised nearly 22 percent, followed by “kidnapping and abduction” with 20.5 percent and “rape” with 7 percent of the reported cases.