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Father of India gang rape victim calls for death penalty

Report & Video by Lindsay Brown

The father of a 23-year-old Indian gang rape victim, who died of her injuries, has demanded the death penalty for her attackers.

Five Indian men have been formally charged with the gang rape and murder of the physiotherapy student.

A sixth accused is under 18 and is due to be tried separately in a juvenile court.

The victim's father said: "I support the nation's plea to award death sentence to those beasts.

"Secondly the juvenile person accused in the case should not be pardoned, some amendment should be brought about in the law so as to rightfully punish for the horrific deed.

"If you pardon him today, tomorrow he might become a pain for both the public and the government. I demand that the age and crime of all the culprits should be contemplated; even if the rapist is juvenile the punishment for the heinous crime should be same."

The attack on the student and her male friend has fuelled a nation-wide debate about the prevalence of sexual crimes in India - where a rape is reported on average every 20 minutes.

Police have said the accused have admitted to torturing and raping the student "to teach her a lesson."

In an hour long attack, she fought back and bit three of them and the bite marks are part of the evidence against them.

After throwing her from the private bus, the driver tried to run the victim over but was pulled away by her companion.

The case is due to be processed by a new fast-track chamber set up in response to the crime.

Days of protests in New Delhi and other cities followed the attack, infuriated by what they see as the failure of the government to protect women.

The government has set up two panels headed by retired judges to recommend measures to ensure women's safety.

One of the panels, due to make recommendations later this month, has received some 17,000 suggestions from the public.

A review of the penal code, which dates back to 1860, was presented to parliament last month, before the attack, and widens the definition of rape, another demand of activists.

That bill is now likely to be revised further, with chemical castration and the death penalty in rape cases among proposals under consideration.

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