Public protests over the death of a 23-year-old woman who was gang raped on the night of December 16 on a running bus, have gone viral nation-wide, according television reports.
People from all walks of life, a majority of them comprising of young India and women, have gathered in unity across the country to register their silent and dignified protest over the dastardly crime, and are demanding acknowledgement from the government to accept ground realities, and introduce stringent laws to deter rapists and all other crimes against women.
Protests are being reported from places such as Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Jammu, and most of the participants are vociferously demanding harsh punishment for the accused in the December 16 rape case. Some women have even demanded a chopping of limbs of the accused.
This evening, protesters are taking part in candle light vigils as a mark of their unified grief and sadness over the death of the woman at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital early on Saturday morning.
There is a unanimous view that this incident should prompt national awakening.
Security has been stepped up in and around New Delhi and Section 144 has been clamped in and around the national capital. At least 28 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed. Ten metro stations, including Rajiv Chowk, Central Secretariat, Mandi House, Pragati Maidan, Barakhamba and even Khan Market, have been closed to restrict movement of protesters towards the main protest areas.
The nation has been in mourning over the death of the 23-year-old woman since this morning.
The girl breathed her last at 2:15 am India time at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. She was earlier treated at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
Reacting to Delhi gang-rape victim's death, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that he is deeply saddened by the death of the gang-rape victim.
"I join the nation in conveying to her family and friends my deepest condolences at this terrible loss," Manmohan Singh said in a statement.
President Pranab Mukherjee condoled the death of the victim, saying that he is deeply distressed by the unfortunate demise of the girl.
"She was a brave and courageous girl who fought till the very last minute for her dignity and her life. She is a true hero and symbolises the best in Indian youth and women," Mukherjee said.
"I convey my condolences to her parents and family who have faced this adversity with fortitude and grace. I pray that they have the strength to bear this loss. The nation will mourn the passing of this brave daughter of India."
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the entire country should hang its head in shame.
"It's such a brutal killing, she fought a brave battle for her life. This is one offence which has shaken the conscious of the Indian society," Jaitley said.
"Our hearts are with the family of the victim. We need to create an environment in India, where every woman is safe. We should think why such incidents are happening in the country and we need to introspect our selves."
Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati said government needs to take measures by enacting strict laws to protect women, and guilty should get stricter punishments.
Expressing his distress and sadness over the death of the victim, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the government is committed to seeking deterrent punishment for all of the accused and would make necessary changes in the law to prevent such acts in the future.
"I am deeply saddened by the demise of the victim. We tried our best to provide her the best possible health care. I express my deep condolences to the bereaved family. The government is also committed to make necessary changes in the law to make it more stringent so that such incidents do not occur in the future. Government is committed to seek deterrent punishment for all of the accused," he said.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari today appealed for calm across the country following death of the Delhi gang-rape victim in a Singapore Hospital.
"Convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of this brave heart. She waged a relentless battle to live unfortunately, but destiny had willed it otherwise. Our hearts cry today. We would like to appeal to all our brothers and sisters across the length and breadth of this great land to maintain peace," Tewari said.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal held a condolence meeting at Jantar Mantar at 11 am.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, tweeted: "Her death has shaken the conscience of the nation. We must wake up and make India safe for daughters".
The six men accused of raping and assaulting the Delhi gang-rape victim, who died in a Singapore hospital on Saturday after fighting for life for 12 days, will now be charged with murder.
Investigators had earlier pressed charges against them under sections 365 (kidnapping or abducting), 376 (2)(g) (gang rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 394 (hurting in committing robbery) and 34 (common intention) of IPC.
After the death of the victim, the police said it will charge the accused with murder too and tell the court to treat it as the rarest of rare case.
While one of the accused is a minor, the others are Ram Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh and Akshay Singh alias Thakur. (ANI)