New law could be named after Delhi gang-rape victim
Family supports idea of naming 23-year-old so that law can be named in her honour
THE FAMILY of the young medical student who died after being gang-raped in Delhi have indicated they are willing to reveal her identity so that a new law protecting women can be named after her.
The as yet unnamed victim died in a Singapore hospital after being brutally attacked on a moving bus in the Indian capital before Christmas. She was sitting with her boyfriend, whom she planned to marry, when six men attacked. They inserted an iron rod into her body, causing severe organ damage.
The move to name a new law after her was suggested by Indian junior education minister Shashi Tharoor on Twitter. He asked why her identity was being kept under wraps and wrote: "Unless her parents object, she should be honoured & the revised anti-rape law named after her. She was a human being with a name, not just a symbol."
Naming rape victims is illegal in India without the permission of the family but the Times of India reports that relatives of the 23-year-old have "no objection" and would regard a law named after her as an "honour".
India Today reports that the Delhi branch of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] is calling for the victim to be awarded the Ashoka Chakra, the country's highest civilian award for bravery.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP official Vijender Gupta wrote: "The courage and bravery she exhibited has inspired the whole nation and shaken our national consciousness."
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that hundreds of Indian women have applied for gun licences since the attack. "The news underlines the widespread sense of insecurity in the city, deep before the incident and deeper now, and the lack of faith in law enforcement agencies," says the paper.
"The case has provoked an unprecedented debate about endemic sexual harassment and violence in India. Tens of thousands have protested across the country, calling for harsher laws, better policing and a change in culture."
A new telephone helpline has been introduced in Delhi for women in distress, the BBC reports. It is being run from the office of the city's chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who also joined a "silent march" through Delhi demanding justice for the bus rape victim.
Five of the six men arrested over the attack are expected to be charged with murder on Thursday. They could face the death penalty if found guilty. The other suspect is thought to be under 18, although bone tests are to be carried out to determine his actual age. If he is found to be an adult he, too, could face the death penalty.