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article imageAssailants in Nirbhaya's gang-rape and murder brought to court

By Can Tran     Jan 7, 2013 in World
New Delhi - As five of the six accused are awaiting trial for the rape and murder of "Nirbhaya," two of the perpetrators have stepped forward offering to be witnesses to testify against the other three. Also, the accused have problems finding legal representation.

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Five of the six perpetrators of the gang rape of “Nirbhaya,” which ended up in her death almost two weeks later, are currently being tried in the court of law. As they are accused of rape, they are also accused of murder as well due to the victim dying of her injuries. If convicted, the five men face the death penalty. The other perpetrator, due to being a minor, will be tried in a juvenile court. Due to the circumstances of Nirbhaya's gang rape and murder, there are talks of making amendments to India's Juvenile Justice Act. There is a special fast-track court that's going to be used to put the five men on trial.
While the five men are on trial, the protests against the rapists and the calls for stronger laws against rape let alone stricter punishment for rapists continues to grow. On the flip-side, there's still a growing number of reported rapes. A TIME Magazine article talks about the importance of better law enforcement to prevent these crimes from happening and to better punish the perpetrators. While the defendants are going to court, they require representation; however, it's easier said than done which makes the situation more complicated.
In terms of law enforcement, a Washington Post article points out how the problem is also a police problem. It is reported by the Washington Post that the perpetrators that committed the 20,000+ reported rapes back in 2011 are still at large. This is just the reported rapes as the number of unreported rapes could be larger. It points out the reluctance to report rape due from hostility and antipathy from law enforcement. In that scope, the article mentions the suicide of a 17-year-old victim who was gang raped days after the ordeal of Nirbhaya. The victim was pressured to drop the case and marry one of the perpetrators.
It also mentions the mentality of politicians with those that feel the victims are to blame.
Members of the local bar association refused to represent the accused. Only one person stood forward to offer representation to the five accused in a bold, very unpopular, and potentially dangerous move. The one person stepping up is Supreme Court lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma. By stepping up, he received the ire from other members of the bar association as they showered him with boos. Also stepping up to join him is V.K. Anand.
The five men on trial are: Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Kumar, Ram Singh, and Akshay Thakur.
Out of those five, two of them have stepped forward and offered to provide evidence against the other three. This is perhaps a shot on part of those two men as a means to get a lighter sentence from the court. The two men are Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta. With this respect, the two of them want to testify as witnesses to what happened to Nirbhaya. In response, Nirbhaya's family is calling upon the government to not allow those two to become state witnesses. Nirbhaya's father, who recently pressured authorities to release his daughter's real name, said that there are enough witnesses in the case and there's no need for more let alone allowing those two men to become part of the witness pool.
With the trial going on, CNN's Fareed Zakaria gives this question: Could the ordeal with Nirbhaya be the catalyst for India to have its own version of the “Arab Spring?” In Global Public Square blog post on CNN's website, it is reported that there's one rape that takes place in India every 22 minutes. It also accuses India's government of not doing its job on public safety. Plus, it said that it took the rape and death of one unnamed woman out of the many reported and unreported rapes for people to take to the streets and express anger.
More about nirbhaya, ananat, Women's rights, Womens rights, Sex abuse
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