Footage of an Indian politician being stripped and slapped by a group of women was broadcast on national television on Thursday as a court in New Delhi charged five men with the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old on December 16.
Protesters furious at the impunity enjoyed by sex offenders in India were given a first indication that attitudes may be starting to change on Thursday when police in the north-eastern state of Assam arrested a prominent local politician who had been set upon by a group of women accusing him of rape. The politician was later suspended from his duties.
According to a local police official quoted by AP news agency, Bikram Singh Brahma was captured by villagers early on Thursday after he allegedly entered a woman’s home and raped her in the early hours of the morning.
Footage of Brahma, a member of the ruling Congress party, being stripped of his shirt and beaten by the crowd was broadcast on Indian television on Thursday, even as a court in New Delhi charged five men with the abduction, rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in the Indian capital on December 16.
Last month’s horrific fatal gang rape sparked a nationwide debate about the routine violence inflicted on women and triggered daily protests in cities across the country, putting pressure on the authorities to deal more seriously with sex crimes.
Once ignored by police and media alike, cases of rape have become front-page news, with politicians calling for tougher laws against sex offenders, including chemical castration. The government has announced a wide-scale reform of the criminal justice system and special fast-track courts to deal with crimes against women.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-01-03