In a Facebook post, Singapore’s Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam said people were “sickened” by the horrific gangrape and her subsequent death here. Describing the attack on the Delhi girl as a “heartbreaking case”, Shanmugam said he would often cite cases like these as examples when he discusses with people who want the death penalty in Singapore to be abolished.
“Many would agree that this is a type of case where, if the injuries inflicted were of a nature sufficient to cause death, then the abusers should face the death penalty,” he wrote.
The Delhi girl, who has never been named, died at Mount Elizabeth Hospital here on Saturday after doctors battled in vain to stabilise her condition. She was air-dashed from Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital to Singapore on Thursday for further medical treatment.
Meanwhile, Shanmugam’s comments sparked hundreds of responses on his Facebook page. Some supported his stance on the death penalty, such as a netizen who went by the name OC Yeo, who said: “The death penalty must remain — otherwise justice cannot be served.”
Others, however, said the punishment remains unjustifiable, the Straits Times reported.
A user called Joshua Chiang said death penalty is “an arcane law that cannot be intellectually justified on any grounds”. In response, Shanmugam, an Indian-origin minister, said he sees the punishment as “a necessary evil”. “Having the death penalty alone is not going to stop violent crimes — it didn’t stop this young lady from being grossly violated,” he wrote.
Human rights groups have called for the total abolition of capital punishment in Singapore but the government says death sentences for the most serious cases will remain.
US media slams gangrape, reports curbs on protesters
Indian-Americans gathered at the Gandhi Statue here to hold a candlelight vigil for the 23-year-old Delhi gangrape victim as the US media slammed the “reprehensible crime” saying half of India’s population “lives in fear of unspeakable violence”.
“Delhi bus incident is our ‘Rosa Parks bus incident’. Hopefully we will discuss gender violence more and do something about it,” a group of Indian-Americans, who held the candlelight vigil on Saturday night, said on their Facebook page.
Meanwhile, mainstream US newspapers continued to give prominent coverage to the victim’s death in Singapore. “The event has shocked Indian society, and many women in other parts of the world are also finding themselves compelled to speak out,” wrote Jamila Bey — a journalist based in Washington DC, where she hosts the weekly radio show ‘The Sex, Politics And Religion Hour’ — in The Washington Post. The CNN reported how law enforcement authorities tried to prevent demonstrations.
It noted that police banned protests in Raisina Hills and closed roads leading to the area, fearing a possible repeat of the furious, large-scale demonstrations that occurred last weekend. It also mentioned that 10 metro stations were ordered closed.
In an editorial, The New York Times said India must work on changing a culture in which women are routinely devalued. “Many are betrothed against their will as child brides, and many suffer cruelly, including acid attacks and burning, at the hands of husbands and family members,” it said.
NRIs demand strict action
In London, NRIs, including teachers and homemakers, gathered at the Mahatma Gandhi Statue at Tavistock Square and raised slogans. They held placards demanding an end to assault and rape cases in India. From the Tavistock Square, they marched to the Indian High Commission in Adwych and submitted a memorandum, urging the Government of India to introduce strict punishments for rapists and introduce time-bound investigations.
Councillor Sunil Chopra, General Secretary of the Indian Overseas Congress (London), UK, said the death of the victim “is a shame not only for Delhi but for India”.
Indian diaspora pays tribute
INDIAN diaspora in Australia on Sunday paid an emotional tribute to the gangrape victim and demanded stern action against the culprits. A large group of Indian men and women gathered in front of the Indian Consulate here and lit candles to express their outrage over the incident.
Expressing her anger and grief over the victim’s death, lawyer Navjeet Jhaji said the Indian government should take stern actions against the culprits. The memorial service for the girl was organised by a social website group called Indian Solidarity Group. A memorial service was also held in Sydney.