After a young couple went on a date to see “Life of Pi,” at an upscale area, they were tricked into boarding an off-duty bus. What happened next became the plot of a horror film, when the 23-year-old girl and male companion were beaten inside the tinted window bus.
The girl, an Indian medical student, was repeatedly raped by six individuals on the bus and was assaulted with a metal bar, which led to severe internal injuries. Both were dumped, naked on the side of a ditch and left to die.
Both were found and hospitalized but the girl later died of her injuries more than 2 weeks later. The incident sparked huge controversy over how sexual assault cases are handled and protests of law reform made national news.
Six suspects were arrested in the case and faced kidnapping, destroying evidence, rape and murder charges. One of the suspects was 17-years-old at the time of the incident, 4 adults were charged and the sixth suspect died in jail. BBC News India reports, “Prison officials have said they believe he hanged himself but defense lawyers and his family allege he was murdered.”
While the adults in the case face a possible death penalty, the 17-year-old has been sentenced 3 years in a juvenile reform facility. However, the suspect has since turned 18-years-old and his 3 year sentencing in a simple reform facility has sparked further outrage.
Lawyer, Anant Kumar Asthana, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying, “The idea behind the provision is that three years is sufficient time to reform a child.
BBC News India reports, “Family of the victim had demanded that the teenager – who was six months short of becoming an adult at the time of the crime – should be treated as an adult and face the death penalty for his alleged crime.”
It is unclear how the media scrutiny on law reform and punishment will affect the trials of the other 4 adults named in this case.