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Delhi rape victim 'Nirbhaya' given funeral before cremation

By Can Tran     Dec 30, 2012 in World
New Delhi - After "Nirbhaya's" body was returned to India, she was given a funeral and cremation ceremony. The fight still continues as her brutal rape and death has ignited protests for women's rights and stricter rape laws.
The recently deceased 23-year-old female nicknamed “Nirbhaya,” “Ananat,” and “Braveheart,” who was the victim of a brutal beating and gang rape, was given a private funeral with tight security. Nirbhaya was flown to Singapore, at the request of the Indian Government, was treated at the Mouth Elizabeth Hospital. Struggling to stay alive, Nirbhaya's body had given out. The injuries inflicted upon Nirbhaya were too great for the body to ultimately handle. Nirbhaya went through cardiac arrest which then caused cerebral edema. Many of her organs failed because of the cerebral edema.
Her body was flown from Singapore back to India. The body was received by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and India's Governing Progress Party head Sonia Gandhi were present to receive the body of Nirbhaya. Nirbhaya's body was in a gold-colored coffin when being transported to where the funeral was to take place. The body of Nirbhaya had a protective escort consisting of police, RAF, and BSF.
After the funeral, Nirbhaya's body was then transported to the crematorium for cremation. Reuters reports that Sheila Dikshit, the chief minister of New Delhi, was present at Nirbhaya's cremation. The authorities wanted the cremation to be kept secret to avoid problems that could be caused by a large gathering of people. One can ask this question: Why were the funeral and cremation ceremonies sped up?
Authorities wanted to give the last rights before 6:30 AM; but, it's not allowed as cremations are not allowed before sunrise under Hindu religious law.
The Hindustan Times reports of a paramilitary guard outside the crematorium as the last rights were performed on Nirbhaya. The funeral pyre was ignited by Nirbhaya's father.
On a more saddening note, according to an Asia One report, Nirbhaya was set to be married. Her boyfriend was the male victim injured in the same attack. The neighbors, attending Nirbhaya's funeral, said that the two of them were planning to be married come February. As a result, it was a happy wedding that was ultimately never to be.
The gang rape of Nirbhaya united a nation of angry citizens who rallied together demanding a solution to such problems. A blog on the Wall Street Journal talks about that while there were women of power in India, other women still have to fight for equal rights. When it comes to rape, there is “blame the victim” mentality. It talks about the “two-finger” test which is used to determine rape; but, experts criticize it for not being effect. All the two-finger test does is to test the muscular laxity and/or to see if the hymen is broken. Experts are calling for the end of the two-finger test. In short, the odds are stacked against rape victims.
The rape of Nirbhaya is not the first and it will not be the last.
Since Nirbhaya died from her injuries, the six perpetrators are slapped with a murder charge which carries the harshest penalty: death. If they are convicted of murder, they're more likely to be handed the death penalty.
Indian-Americans, in India at the moment, gathered to hold their own vigil for Nirbhaya. One of the people, interviewed by Indian Express, considered Nirbhaya to be their version of civil rights figure Rosa Parks. Times of India reports of the prison population of Tihar Jail taking a joint oath in solidarity for Nirbhaya. The inmates made a joint oath to respect women and stand up for their safety when released. It also reports that the six perpetrators are currently being incarcerated at the Tihar Jail. It is also further reported that the prison population delivered their own brand of justice for Nirbhaya by constantly beating up the perpetrators.
Indians, living outside of India, are either holding their own protests or vigils. Those living in Britain have submitted a petition to the Indian High Commission for stricter laws against rapists. They had their own protest in London, at the Mahatma Gandhi Statue, organized by the Pravasi Bharat. On Wednesday, January 3, there will be a vigil for Nirbhaya taking place in Ottawa, Canada. In San Francisco, California, civil rights organizations held a candlelit vigil for Nirbhaya in front of the Indian consulate.
Despite the national and international outcry, the gang rapes still continue. Also, the authorities' current attitudes towards rape remain the same. There was the recent suicide by a 17-year-old female gang rape victim. She was gang-raped in November; but, she was pressured by a police officer to drop the charge and marry one of the perpetrators. Also, a 14-year-old gang rape victim attempted to take her own life; currently, she's on a ventilator. The perpetrators for her rape are reported to be on the run.
It was recently reported by NDTV that another woman was gang raped and then murdered. The victim was a 45-year-old woman who was allegedly gang raped by eight men near Kolkata. Her husband tried to fight the attackers but was severely beaten with some acidic substance thrown in his face. The woman's dead body was found semi-naked.
Another NDTV article talks about how New Delhi is the rape capital of India. It talks about how a rape is reported every 18 hours. This same article talks about a 16-year-old rape survivor who has to take a train each month to be cross-examined by lawyers. When she was 14, the survivor was drugged by two boys. She ended up being sold to a brothel. For a year, she was sexually exploited; but, she was rescued by the police during a series of raids. Nirbhaya's death has inspired this rape survivor to keep living and fighting in her memory and all the other victims. This survivor's battle is rocky; for her refusal to drop the case, her family's home was destroyed and her rice field was torched.
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