NEW DELHI (AP) — Police said they arrested six men on Saturday in another gang rape of a bus passenger in India, four weeks after a deadly attack on a student on a moving bus in the capital outraged Indians and led to calls for tougher rape laws.
Police officer Raj Jeet Singh said a 29-year-old woman was traveling by bus to her village in northern Punjab state on Friday night and was the only passenger. He said the driver and conductor are accused of driving her to a desolate location and then taking her to a nearby building, where they were joined by five friends in raping her repeatedly throughout the night.
The driver dropped the woman off at her village early Saturday, he said.
Singh said police arrested six suspects on Saturday and were searching for another.
The brutal rape of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus in December set off an impassioned debate about what India needs to do to prevent such tragedies. Protesters and politicians have called for tougher rape laws, major police reforms and a transformation in the way the country treats women.
In her first published comments Sunday, the mother of the deceased student said all six suspects in that case, including one believed to be a juvenile, deserve to die.
She was quoted by The Times of India newspaper as saying that the youngest suspect participated in the most brutal aspects of the rape.
Five men have been charged with the student’s rape and murder and face a possible death penalty if convicted. The sixth suspect, who says he is 17 years old, is likely to be tried in a juvenile court if medical tests confirm he is a minor. His maximum sentence would be three years in a reform facility.
“Now the only thing that will satisfy us is to see them punished. For what they did to her, they deserve to die,” the newspaper quoted her as saying.
Some activists have demanded a change in Indian laws so that juveniles committing heinous crimes can face the death penalty.
The names of the victim of the Dec. 16 attack and her family have not been released.
The physiotherapy student died from massive internal injuries in a Singapore hospital where she was sent for emergency treatment.