Indians demand justice after woman gang-raped and killed

Demonstrators protest in New Delhi on Dec 2, 2019, against the alleged rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AP) - Hundreds of people gathered in the Indian capital on Monday (Dec 2) to demand justice in the case of a veterinarian who was gang-raped and killed last week.

The protesters demanded a fast-track investigation in the case and stringent laws for the safety of women in India.

"We are not safe anymore in India. We are scared to move out of our homes," said college student Sejal Kumar.

The burned body of the 27-year-old woman was found last Thursday morning by a passer-by in an underpass in the southern state of Hyderabad after she went missing the night earlier.

Police said four suspects have been taken into custody.

Violent crimes against women have been in the spotlight since 2012, when the fatal gang rape of a young woman aboard a moving bus in New Delhi prompted hundreds of thousands of Indians to take to the streets to demand stricter rape laws.

The outrage spurred quick action on legislation doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalising voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women.

Indian lawmakers also voted to lower to 16 from 18 the age at which a person can be tried as an adult for heinous crimes.

According to the most recent available official crime records, police registered 33,658 cases of rape in India in 2017 - an average of more than 90 every day. But the real figure is believed to be far higher as many women in India do not report such cases to police due to fear.

The information also reveals that more than 90 per cent of cases of crime against women are pending in city courts.

The latest incident was also debated in Parliament.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the government is willing to discuss crime against women and to explore the strongest provisions in the law.

"This act has brought shame to the entire country. It has hurt everyone. The accused must be given the most stringent punishment for their crime," Minister Singh said.

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