Guilty

The Herald reports:

An Indian court convicted four men of the gang and “cold-blooded” murder of a student on a New Delhi bus in a crime that sickened the nation and led to new laws to tackle endemic sex crime.

Judge Yogesh Khanna said the men, who could now face the death penalty, were guilty of murdering a “helpless victim” last December, as he announced that arguments for sentencing of the four would be held tomorrow.

“I convict all of the accused,” Khanna told a packed court room. “They have been found guilty of gang rape, unnatural offences, destruction of evidence … and for committing the murder of the helpless victim.”

The four – Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma, aged between 19 and 29 at the time of the crime – had all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The men, whose faces were shown by the media for the first time, were economic migrants living in or around a south Delhi slum who were drawn to the city to escape grinding rural poverty.

The victim’s parents, who wept in court as the verdict was announced, have led the calls for them to be hanged, saying that they would only find closure if the four are executed.

It was a horrific crime, and the horror of it has (hopefully) led to a change in both the tolerance and prevalence of sexual assaults in .

The attack sparked weeks of sometimes violent street protests across India with seething public anger about sex crimes against women.

It also led to tougher laws being passed by parliament in March for sex offenders, including the death penalty for rapists whose victims die or are left in a vegetative state.

But savage attacks against women are still reported daily in India’s newspapers and the gang rape of a photographer last month near an upmarket area of Mumbai rekindled public disgust.

I presume there is some sort for global report that ranks countries from best to worst for women to live in? Would be interesting to see where India is placed.

Quite remarkable in hindsight that Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister, especially in an era where female leaders anywhere was very rare. She became PM in 1966!

Of course the violence against women in India is done by a very small minority. But it does seem until recently it has been swept under the carpet rather than confronted and all efforts made to minimise it.

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