A supporter of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) attends a demonstration in New Delhi against
Delhi police who have started legal proceedings against TV
network Zee News after it ran an interview with a friend of
a woman who died two weeks after a gang rape on a bus in
New Delhi. REUTERS/Mansi Thapliyal
The father of an Indian student whose brutal rape
provoked a global outcry said he wanted her name made public so
she could be an inspiration to victims of sexual assault, a
call that was quickly taken up by social media users and may
pressure authorities to allow her identity to be revealed.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy student died on December 28 in
a Singapore hospital, two weeks after a gang rape on a moving
bus in New Delhi that ignited protests across India and
neighbouring countries and government promises of tougher
"We want the world to know her real name," the woman's father
told Britain's Sunday People newspaper.
"My daughter didn't do anything wrong, she died while
protecting herself," he added. "I am proud of her. Revealing
her name will give courage to other women who have survived
these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter."
The father's interview sparked widespread interest on social
networking sites. Her name was the top trending topic among
Indian Twitter users with many, including journalists and
Bollywood actors, praising his decision to reveal her name.
Mainstream Indian media did not identify her, however, and
she was still being referred to as "Amanat", an Urdu word
meaning "treasure", by some TV channels.
A spokesman for Delhi Police declined to comment when asked
if the authorities would take action against social networks
or publications carrying the student's name.
There have been growing calls in India to name the victim.
Politician Shashi Tharoor last week questioned the merit of
keeping her anonymous, and suggested naming new anti-rape law
after her, a proposal her father supported.
Indian law generally prohibits the identification of victims
of sex crimes. The law is intended to protect victims'
privacy and keep them from the media glare in a country where
the social stigma associated with rape can be devastating.
The father later told Reuters he had no objections to the
media using his daughter's name, but did not elaborate.
ACCUSED DUE IN COURT
Five men have been charged with gang rape and murder and will
appear in a New Delhi court on Monday to hear the charges.
Rajiv Mohan, a prosecutor in the case, said Singapore's Mount
Elizabeth Hospital gave the cause of death as "septicaemia
from multi-organ failure due to multiple organ injuries".
Mohan said the prosecution had matched DNA from her blood to
blood found on the accused's clothes, and on hers, which one
of the men had allegedly tried to burn to destroy evidence.
"The blood stain appearing on the burnt cloth has been
tallied with the blood sample of the victim," Mohan told
reporters on Saturday.
The British paper named the father and his daughter, saying
that the father had given permission, but added that it would
not publish a photo of her at the family's request. Reuters
has opted not to identify the victim.
Mohan told Reuters the police and prosecution still had no
intention of revealing her identity. The spokesman for Delhi
police could not immediately be reached for comment.
"Even if family members have given their permission to
disclose the victim's identity for a greater cause, we can't
disclose her identity," Mohan said, citing section 228a of
the Indian penal code.
Legal experts consulted by Reuters said a situation could
arise where Indian media, wary of legal cases, chose not to
name her while foreign publications do.
Citing the same law, Delhi police have started legal
proceedings against TV network Zee News after it ran an
interview with a friend of the victim who was with her during
He accused the police of responding slowly and failing to
cover the victim and himself after they were thrown from the
bus without clothes and bleeding.
"The police is not taking any chances and wants to be in a
controlling situation, scaring everybody off by filing (legal
complaints)" said senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Hegde,
who predicted such complaints were unlikely to lead to
Despite huge public pressure to move quickly, it might take
several weeks to formally begin the trial against the five
men, public prosecutor Mohan said. He said the case could be
concluded within four to five months.
A juvenile also accused of the assault will be tried
separately. Mohan said police had recovered items stolen from
the victim and her friend during the attack.
The protests and fierce public debate that followed the Dec.
16 rape have revealed fissures between conservatives who
blame a wave of sex crimes on a loss of traditional values
and a growing middle class used to women playing a larger
role in public life.
The head of a Hindu nationalist organisation linked to the
main opposition force, the Bharatiya Janata Party, on Friday
stoked debate by saying sex crimes and gang rapes mainly
happened in urban India - a position not supported by facts.
"You go to villages and forests of the country and there will
be no such incidents of gang rape or sex crimes. They are
prevalent in some urban belts," said Mohan Bhagwat, the head
of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
While per capita rape statistics are lower than in many
nations, one case is reported in India every 20 minutes.
A global poll of experts last year by TrustLaw, a legal news
service run by Thomson Reuters Foundation, showed India to be
the worst place among G20 countries to be a woman.
Activists say most sex crimes in India go unreported, and
official data show that almost all go unpunished. Reported
rape cases rose nearly 17 percent between 2007 and 2011.