Parents hope India rape victim leaves legacy

SYDNEY (AFP) - The parents of a student fatally gang raped in New Delhi have told Australian television her attackers deserve the death sentence they have been given and hope her legacy empowers other women.

The 23-year-old was brutally raped in December on a bus in the Indian capital in a crime that shocked the nation. She died of massive internal injuries nearly a fortnight later.

An Indian judge last week sentenced to death four men convicted of the crime, bringing to a close a case that sparked widespread anger against the treatment of women in India.

Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview shown late Monday, the victim's father said he hoped the incident would lead to changes that would mean a safer world for women.

"Not just India, but for the entire world," he said.

"She has become a symbol of women's empowerment. She has lit a flame and we have to keep that flame burning."

The mother of the student, speaking in the same interview, said the men who perpetrated the horrific crime must to be put to death.

"They must be hanged because if they remain in society they will only spread filth," she said. "They are a burden on this earth. These men do not have any right to live."

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was lured on to the private bus by the gang following a cinema trip with a male companion.

After beating up the friend, the gang brutally assaulted her behind tinted windows for 45 minutes before flinging the bloodied and barely conscious couple onto a road leading to New Delhi's international airport.

Although she was flown to Singapore for treatment, the woman died from the grievous internal injuries she sustained during the attack.

Her parents, who also cannot be named to protect her identity, had previously welcomed the judge's decision.

The victim's father told the ABC he felt repulsed to see the four men convicted of her rape and murder - Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, and Mukesh Singh - in court.

"What kind of men are they... in order to fulfil their small lust they ended one life? They even put their own lives on the line," he said.

A juvenile convicted last month over his role in the attack was sentenced to three years in a correctional facility - the maximum allowed by law, given his age - while a sixth suspect, bus driver Ram Singh, died in prison in an apparent suicide.

Human rights groups have warned that the death penalty is not a long-term solution.

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