Indians abroad hold candle light vigil for Delhi gang-rape victim

Updated - November 16, 2021 09:58 pm IST

Published - December 30, 2012 06:00 pm IST - Washington/Melbourne

Indian diaspora in the US, Australia and the UK held candle light vigils for the 23-year-old gang-rape victim, demanding stern punishment for the culprits and fast track courts to deal with sexual assault cases.

Braving chilly weather, Indian-Americans gathered at the Gandhi Statue in Washington and held a candle light vigil for the girl, who died yesterday in Singapore after battling for life for 13 days.

“Delhi bus incident is our ‘Rosa Parks bus incident’. Hopefully we will discuss gender violence more and do something about it,” a group of Indian-Americans, who held the candle light vigil last night, said on their Facebook page, especially created for the occasion.

In Melbourne, a large group of Indian men and women gathered in front of the Indian Consulate and lit candles to express their outrage over the incident.

Expressing her anger and grief over the loss of the young girl’s life, lawyer Navjeet Jhaji said the Indian government should take stern actions against the culprits. “There should be freedom for the women to just move out freely on the streets.”

Ravi Bhatia, a community leader, said sexual violence was an all too common occurrence in India. “Tens of thousands of women in India are sexually harassed, beaten and brutalised, raped and murdered, denied justice and basic human rights.”

The memorial service for the girl, who was brutally gang-raped and assaulted by six men in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, was organised by a social website group called Indian Solidarity Group

Anjali Tikoo, an active member of an Indian association against domestic violence, said “the death of the young girl should not go waste. There is a message and we must tell our daughters to fight like this brave—heart against any assault or any oppression against women.”

The community members also observed a two-minute silence to pay their respect to the departed soul.

A memorial service was also being held in Sydney.

In London, NRIs, including teachers and housewives, gathered at the Mahatma Gandhi Statue at Tavistock Square and raised slogans. They held placards demanding an end to assault and rape cases in India.

“Band Karo Atyachar, save our sisters,” one of the placards read.

From the Tavistock Square, they marched to the Indian High Commmission in Adwych and submitted a memorandum, urging the Government of India to introduce strict punishments for rapists and introduce time-bound investigations and fast track courts to deal with sexual assault cases.

Councillor Sunil Chopra, General Secretary of the Indian Overseas Congress (London), UK said the death of a gang rape victim “is a shame not only for Delhi but for the whole of India.”

“Justice should be done. Culprit should be hanged to death or imprisoned for life so that no one can dare to do these sort of things again. Her death should not be wasted and we should learn a lesson from this tragedy. New law should be brought and implemented in a stricter manner.”

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