As protests grew in India on Saturday over the death of a young woman who was raped in Delhi this month by several men in a moving bus, the police said her attackers would be charged with murder.
Protesters gathered in New Delhi on Saturday.
The charges against six men came as government officials appealed for calm in the streets after the woman, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, died early Saturday in a Singapore hospital. In a statement, Dr. Kelvin Loh, the chief executive of Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, said the woman died "peacefully."
Indian police said on Saturday that if convicted, the men could face the death penalty. The attack has served as a reminder of the dangerous conditions women face in India.
The woman, whose intestines were removed because of injuries caused by a metal rod used during the rape, has not been identified. She was flown to Singapore on Wednesday night after undergoing three abdominal operations at a local hospital. She had also suffered a major brain injury, cardiac arrest and infections of the lungs and abdomen. "She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds, but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome," Dr. Loh's statement said.
Protesters gathered here in New Delhi at Jantar Mantar, a popular site for demonstrations. By noon, the crowd had swelled to several hundred, most of them young men.
"We appeal to the people that they maintain peace," Satyendra Garg, a joint commissioner of the police, said in a televised interview. "We want the situation in Delhi to normalize as soon as possible," he said. Until then, he added, Delhi commuters will have to plan their travel carefully and be aware of the restrictions.
Upamanyu Raju, 21, a student at Delhi University, said he had been attending protests since a day after the rape victim was admitted to the hospital because of the "utter atrocity of what happened." Mr. Raju said he had given his younger sister pepper spray and a Swiss Army knife, but he worried that those things would not protect her. "It's wrong to stop girls from going out" of the house, he said, but there's little choice because the city is so unsafe for women.
Sheila Dikshit, the chief minister of Delhi, arrived at the Jantar Mantar protest grounds in the early afternoon and was booed, heckled and jostled by the crowd, even as she was surrounded by a police escort. Ms. Dikshit, a diminutive 74-year-old, left after only a few minutes, after lighting a candle and holding her hands together in prayer, and without speaking to the crowd.
The roads leading to India Gate, the site of earlier protests that had turned violent, had been barricaded by the police, and nearby subway stations were closed. More than 40 police units have been deployed in the area, including 28 units of the Central Reserve Police Force, which are national anti-insurgency troops.
Source: The New York Times | HEATHER TIMMONS and SRUTHI GOTTIPATI