Apart from expressing grief for India's daughter who has departed, the common theme of mourners, men and women, in various parts of the country was one: change in the criminal justice system to book rapists.
Writer UR Ananthamurthy was among those who
participated in protest rallies in Bangalore and other places of Karnataka on Saturday. Workers of the BJP women's wing also took part in them.
Manipuri playwright Swar Thounojam, who had recently filed a complaint against the police and some others for misbehaving with her, demanded justice for all rape-victims. Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress workers expressed condolence near Mahatma Gandhi's statue.
Several hundreds of people, including large numbers of women, came out on the streets and demanded urgent reforms in criminal law and police administration. "I feel as if a member of my family has died … Rape and other kinds of violence against women are happening because the police have failed," said K Smitha, a mourner.
The Hyderabad city police commissioner's (CP's) reported remark that the accused in almost all rape cases in the city are known to victims has drawn the ire of women's groups, who termed it "unacceptable".
CP Anurag Sharma reportedly stated on Saturday of the 68 rape cases registered in the city in 2012, the accused in 64 cases were known to the victims.
Radhika Ganesh, a social entrepreneur and an organiser of the peaceful candle light vigil at the Marina Beach, said the occasion was not one to be used by any organisation, party or movement. "We have gathered here as mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours, mourning the demise of a dear one," she said.
The Aam Aadmi Party, led by Arvind Kejriwal, too had a presence in the protests.
Hundreds of women braved the cold weather as they lit candles at Don Bosco Square before taking out a silent procession. Taking part in the vigil, Emie Sunn, a 10-year-old boy, demanded the death sentence for those who committed crimes against women.
"People do not want violence but they want to let the government know that they are not going to take it lying down anymore," said Jyoti Sachdev, an intern at the MGM Medical College physiotherapy department.
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