The hours-long gang rape and near-fatal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country today as Indians demanded action from authorities who have long ignored persistent violence and harassment against women. In the streets and in Parliament, calls rose for stringent and swift punishment against those attacking women, including a proposal to make rapists eligible for the death penalty. As the calls for action grew louder, two more gang rapes were reported, including one in which the 10-year-old victim was killed.
Meanwhile, the 23-year-old victim of the first rape lay in critical condition in the hospital with severe internal injuries. Police said six men raped the woman and savagely beat her and her companion with iron rods on a bus driving around the city—passing through several police checkpoints—before stripping them and dumping them on the side of the road Sunday night. "I feel it is sick what is happening across the country," said Smitha, a 32-year-old protester who goes by only one name. "It is totally sick, and it needs to stop."