Indian Rape Victim Is Cremated

The body of the woman whose gang rape has triggered an outpouring of grief and anger across India has been cremated in a private ceremony. The young woman's body was flown home from Singapore after her death Saturday.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party, were at the airport to receive the body early Sunday and to meet the victim's family.

The 23-year-old unidentified woman died of severe organ failure in a Singapore hospital after suffering internal injuries and brain damage in the attack. Indian authorities have charged six men with murder. Police say the men could face the death penalty if convicted.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has offered his condolences to the woman's family. He said  in a statement "violence against women must never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated."

Indians gather next to a makeshift memorial to mourn the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim, in Bangalore, India on Dec. 29, 2012. /AP Indians gather next to a makeshift memorial to mourn the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim, in Bangalore, India on Dec. 29, 2012. /AP

Candlelight vigils have been held in New Delhi and many cities across India. The protesters demanded justice for the victim and safety for women. New Delhi has been rocked by mass protests since the woman was attacked on Dec. 16.

The outcry over the attack caught the Indian government off-guard. It took a week for Prime Minister Singh to make a statement on the case, infuriating many protesters.

The woman is reported to have accepted a ride with a male companion on a charter bus in New Delhi where the six men on board beat them both with an iron rod. The woman was raped repeatedly. Reports say the rod was used in the rape. The woman and her friend were then thrown from the moving vehicle.

The male friend survived the attack.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

VOA News / Dec. 31, 2012 07:51 KST