Indian victim of gang rape and murder had planned to get married

Indian woman who died after a brutal attack in Delhi is cremated away from the public glare

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 December, 2012, 5:37am


The victim of a gang rape and murder that triggered an outpouring of grief and anger across India was cremated at a private ceremony yesterday as it emerged she was planning to get married in February.

The unidentified 23-year-old, the focus of nationwide protests since she was attacked on a bus in New Delhi two weeks ago, was cremated away from the public glare only hours after her body was brought back from Singapore, where doctors had tried to save her life.

A funeral pyre was lit after traumatised relatives and friends said their final prayers at a ceremony in southwestern Delhi, according to mourners who revealed she had been due to wed her boyfriend who was injured in the same attack.

"They had made all the wedding preparations and had planned a wedding party in Delhi" for February, said Meena Rai, a close friend and neighbour.

Rai said she had been shopping for wedding outfits and the contents of a wedding box.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, leader of the main ruling Congress party, were at Delhi airport to console her parents as they arrived home on a chartered plane with their daughter's body at about 4am.

Hours after the victim died early on Saturday, Indian police charged six men who had been arrested in connection with the attack with murder, adding to accusations that they beat and gang-raped the woman on a New Delhi bus on December 16.

A protest rally in Hong Kong is being organised by the Association for the Advancement of Feminism in front of the Indian consulate in Admiralty at noon tomorrow.

Yesterday, several thousand people again massed in the centre of the Indian capital - some to express sympathy for the victim who had been out to watch a film with her boyfriend, others to voice anger at the government.

"She was not just one woman, she epitomises every Indian woman who has been wronged in some way or the other," said protester Mahima Anand, 21.

Lawyer Bela Rana said: "We are aware that this is not the first case, nor will it be the last case of gang rape in India, but it is clear that we will not tolerate sex crimes any more."

Additional reporting by Associated Press