India hangs four men over 2012 Delhi bus gang-rape: jail chief

The men were executed for the brutal gang rape of a woman in Delhi in 2012. (AP)
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Updated 20 March 2020

India hangs four men over 2012 Delhi bus gang-rape: jail chief

  • The victim was a 23-year-old physiotherapy student
  • The case drew international attention and prompted Indian lawmakers to stiffen penalties for rape

NEW DELHI: Four men sentenced to death for the gruesome gang rape and murder of a woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012 were hanged Friday, concluding a case that exposed the scope of sexual violence against women in India and prompted horrified Indians to demand swift justice.
The men were hanged at Tihar Jail in New Delhi, Press Trust of India reported, quoting jail authorities.
The victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, was heading home with a male friend from a movie theater when six men tricked them onto a private bus. With no one else in sight, they beat her friend and repeatedly raped the woman. They penetrated her with a metal rod, causing fatal internal injuries. They dumped both victims on the roadside, and the woman died two weeks later.
The case drew international attention and prompted Indian lawmakers to stiffen penalties for rape, part of a wave of changes as India confronted its appalling treatment of women.
Facing public protests and political pressure after the attack, the government reformed some of India’s antiquated laws on sexual violence and created fast-track courts for handling rape trials that formerly could last more than a decade.
Asha Devi, the mother of the victim, thanked the judiciary and government after the convicts were hanged.
“Today, we got justice and this day is dedicated to the daughters of the country,” she told reporters. “I could not protect her but I was able to fight for her.”
Devi said she hoped that courts in India will end delays in rape cases and punish convicts within a year’s time.
Hundreds of police were deployed outside the jail to control a crowd that waited to celebrate the executions. Dozens of activists and commoners held placards hailing the hangings outside the jail premises. The crowd chanted slogans like “Justice for women” in favor of the hangings and cheered by clapping and blowing whistles.
The assailants had stood trial relatively quickly in India’s slow-moving justice system. Four defendants were found guilty and sentenced to death in 2013 and India’s top court upheld the decisions in 2017.
Another suspect had hanged himself in prison before his trial began, though his family insists he was killed. The sixth assailant was a minor at the time of the attack and served three years in juvenile detention.
The executions were carried out as two recent attacks renew attention to the problem of sexual violence in India.


UK epidemic is slowing; antibody test could soon be ready, say scientific advisers

Updated 9 min 59 sec ago

UK epidemic is slowing; antibody test could soon be ready, say scientific advisers

  • Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said there were signs that locking down the country a week ago had slowed the rate of transmission of the virus
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed stringent controls after projections showed a quarter of a million people could die

LONDON: The coronavirus epidemic in the United Kingdom is showing signs of slowing and antibody tests could be ready in days, Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, said on Monday.
“We think the epidemic is just about slowing in the UK right now,” Ferguson told BBC radio.
Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, also said there were signs that locking down the country a week ago had slowed the rate of transmission of the virus. He said Britain was not in a “fast acceleration” phase.
Official data on Monday showed 1,408 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) had died so far and there were 22,141 positive cases.
Britain initially took a modest approach to containing the spread of the disease compared with European countries such as Italy.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed stringent controls after projections showed a quarter of a million people could die. Johnson has since become the first leader of a major power to announce a positive test result for coronavirus.
Vallance said on Monday the restrictions — which have seen public transport use fall to less than a quarter of normal levels — were already having a “big effect” on the transmission of the virus.
This in turn would lead to fewer people being admitted to hospital, he said, and ultimately reduce the total fatality figure.
Hospital admissions had already stabilized at about 1,000 per day, he said.
“It’s quite important — it tells you that actually this is a bit more stable than it has been,” he said, adding that the country was tracking France rather than the worse-hit Italy and Spain.
He said it would take another 2 to 3 weeks to determine the extent of the slowdown in the spread of the virus because of the lag between the rate of transmission and that of hospital admissions.
Ferguson said a third or even 40% of people do not get any symptoms and thought perhaps 2% to 3% of Britain’s population had been infected.
But Ferguson cautioned that the data was not good enough to make firm extrapolations.
He said antibody tests were in the final stage of validation and could hopefully be ready in “days rather than weeks.”