Four men have been found guilty by District Court judge Yogesh Khanna of the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in New Delhi, India last December.
The victim and a friend were trying to taxi home after seeing a movie when the men lured them onto a private bus. They beat both of them and raped the woman as the bus driver drove around for an hour, then threw them out naked onto the road. The victim died two weeks later of severe internal injuries. She was able to provide evidence against the attackers while on her hospital bed.
The attack and death of the student led to huge protests across India about sexual violence and the status of women. It resulted in the introduction of tough new laws to punish sexual offenses, including allowing the death penalty to be used in serious cases of rape. Karuna Nundy, an attorney and advocate for the Supreme Court, said, “I think the legacy of the case, the most positive aspect, is the change in the law. There has been something of a change in the way violence against women is perceived. There is a shift from victim-blaming to a sense of women’s bodily integrity and dignity. That’s been a significant but not comprehensive shift. It’s a beginning.”
Another suspect, a man who was a juvenile when he committed the attack, was sentenced in August to three years in a reform facility. Also, the suspect thought to be the bus driver was found hanged in his prison cell in March.
The four convicted men will be sentenced tomorrow. They face either life imprisonment or death by hanging.