Tributes for Indian bus gang-rape victim one year on

Fatal attack shook nation and spurred some reforms, but horrendous attacks continue

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 December, 2013, 2:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 December, 2013, 10:15am


With vigils and prayers, India yesterday marked the first anniversary of the death of a student savagely gang-raped on a Delhi bus.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student died on December 29 last year, nearly two weeks after being attacked by a gang of six men on a moving bus as she returned home from the cinema with a male companion.

The attack and her subsequent death shook the country, shone a global spotlight on India's treatment of women and unleashed seething public anger about sexual violence and harassment of women.

The victim's family held a religious ceremony in their ancestral village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, away from the constant media attention they have faced since the attack.

"We want to remember her in a quiet way, away from all the glare. We want it to be a private family moment," the brother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said.

We want to remember her in a quiet way. We want it to be a family moment

The woman, who was repeatedly assaulted with an iron rod during her ordeal, has been praised for her determination to report her attackers to the police before she died of her injuries.

Four of her attackers were convicted and given the death penalty in September after the case was fast-tracked, while a juvenile was sentenced to a detention centre. The sixth man died in jail in an apparent suicide.

The angry and sometimes violent protests against the attack jolted India's parliament, which this year passed tougher laws against rapists and other sex-crime offenders.

Women's groups say some improvements have also been made to India's notoriously slow, inefficient and sometimes corrupt police and judicial systems, encouraging some victims to report sexual crimes.

In the capital, a small group of students and workers gathered yesterday at Jantar Mantar, a protest site in the city's centre where a makeshift memorial had been set up for the victim.

Despite the reforms, new cases of rape continue to be reported daily.

An ambulance driver has been charged with raping a 10-year-old girl after he drove her sick mother to hospital in the central state of Chhattisgarh on December 23.