Father wants to name rape victim
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, in comments that may pressure authorities to allow her identity to be revealed.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy student died last week 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 prompted government promises for tougher punishments for offenders.
"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."
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. Five men have been charged with gang rape and murder and will appear in a New Delhi court tomorrow 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". Mr 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," Mr Mohan told reporters yesterday.
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.
Mr 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," Mr Mohan said, citing section 228a of the Indian penal code.