Indian police have officially filed charges against the five men accused of gang rape and beating a 23-year-old medical student last month. They also announced their intention to seek the death penalty, and the five men will have their first hearing on Saturday.
The news came as a relief to the Indian people, who had protested for days and weeks about the assault that took the life of the young woman. Police never formally announced their charges yesterday, but assured the public they were gathering evidence for a strong case against the men who beat and took turns raping the young woman.
Included in the charges are kidnapping, tampering with evidence, rape, and murder. If convicted, the men will indeed face the death penalty, which is rare in India. The sixth suspect was found to be a minor; he will not face the death penalty but instead face three years in a reform facility, the Associated Press reported.
The young woman was riding a bus when she was attacked by the men; only recently was it learned that the bus driver was actually a participant in the crime. She was beaten, raped, and left for dead alongside the road before being taken to a nearby hospital for assessment.
After being transported to Singapore for specialized care, the young woman succumbed to her injuries, which included removal of her intestines, trauma to her internal organs, a heart attack, and brain damage. Her family returned her body to New Delhi for cremation and scattered the ashes in the Ganges, in accordance with Hindu customs.
India has a known problem of violence against women; the death of this latest victim has renewed calls for swift justice and protection for all women throughout the country. Many used these past few weeks to call for legislation, and it appears as though government officials are listening to the calls by seeking the death penalty.