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Delhi gang rape suspects appear in India court
Five Indian men accused of the gang rape and killing of a 23-year-old medical student in a case that sparked widespread outrage throughout the country appeared in a New Delhi court on Monday to hear the charges against them.
Five suspects in a deadly gang rape that sparked widespread outrage in India appeared in court on Monday after police said they had forensic evidence linking them to last month’s horrific attack in the Indian capital. The group has been charged with kidnap, rape, and murder, while police are still trying to determine the age of a sixth assailant, who claims to be a minor.
On the same day four policemen were suspended over the handling of a separate suspected rape and murder case in a Delhi suburb over the weekend. The BBC reported that the body of a 21-year-old factory worker, whose father says she was gang-raped, was discovered half-naked near a roadside. Her father told the BBC that police initially failed to react when he reported her disappearance and suggested instead that she had gone off with someone. Two men have been arrested and a third suspect is reported to have fled.
In the Saket district of Delhi, hundreds of journalists, lawyers and onlookers jammed into the courtroom where the five suspects of the December 16 attack were to appear. But after scenes of chaos, Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal ruled that the media be barred from attending the proceedings and took the court behind closed doors.
“The proceedings got off to a very late start,” FRANCE 24 correspondent Natacha Butler reported from New Delhi. “The five suspects weren’t able to enter the courtroom because there were more than 100 people crammed into a space meant only for 30.”
The uproar over the gang rape attack prompted the government to begin legal proceedings barely one week after the death of the victim at a hospital in Singapore, whereas it usually takes months for the prosecution to assemble this sort of case.
Outlining their case before the same court in Saket on Saturday, prosecutors said there was DNA evidence to tie the defendants to the crime scene.
"The blood of the victim tallied with the stains found on the clothes of the accused," said Rajiv Mohan, part of the prosecution team.
The 23-year-old victim boarded a bus with her boyfriend after watching the movie ‘’Life of Pi’ at an upscale mall on December 16. They were attacked by the six assailants inside the bus for more than two hours before being thrown off the moving vehicle.
There have been widespread calls for the attackers to be hanged, including from the victim's family.
Her father was quoted by Britain's Sunday People newspaper at the weekend as saying he wanted "death for all six of them" as well as calling for his daughter's name to be made public "to give courage to other women".
However, the victim’s father denied on Sunday that he wanted the identity of his daughter revealed.
“The father came out in Indian media saying he only meant he would have no objection for his daughter’s name to be used for a new Indian anti-rape law”, said FRANCE 24’s Natacha Butler.
Shashi Tharoor, a junior minister for education, has also urged authorities to reveal the name so it can be used for the new law.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)