Widespread outrage erupted in India after a teen convicted of the rape and murder of a 23-year-old on a moving bus was sentenced to just three years detention in a reform home.
This is only the first conviction in the case. A total of six men are being prosecuted in the crime.
After the public outcry, India’s opposition leaders promised Sunday that it would seek tougher punishments for juveniles.
A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang raped on a moving bus by six men, including the bus driver, in New Delhi on Dec. 16, 2012. The woman and her male companion were tricked into boarding the off-duty bus. Her male friend was beaten while men on the bus raped her and used a metal back to inflict massive internal injuries, Globe and Mail reported.
The victims were thrown, bleeding, from the moving bus. She later died of her injuries during emergency surgery in Singapore.
Since then, tougher sentences were mandated for adult sex offenders, but not minor. The victim’s family denounced the sentence handed down to the teen.
“He should be hanged irrespective of whether he is a juvenile or not. He should be punished for what he did to my daughter,” said the victim’s mother, Asha Devi.
“This is completely unacceptable to us,” the victims’s father, Badrinath Singh, said. “We are not satisfied with this outcome. He is virtually being set free. This is very wrong.”
“No family should have a daughter if this is the fate that lies ahead for women. In this country, it is crime to be born a girl,” Singh added.
S.K. Singh, an attorney for the victim’s family, said he will challenge the court’s decision. Despite numerous reports that the teen was 17, Singh says he was not a minor when the rape occurred.
“We will also seek a review of the man’s age by a medical panel, since we believe he was not a juvenile when the incident took place,” he said.
The offender received the maximum sentence under Indian law, which seeks reform for offenders under the age of 18 rather than punishment.
“He can watch TV, play games while doing time,” the Hindustan Times reported.
Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj said she would introduce a bill this week to change the law for juveniles sex offenders.
“This [meager] punishment of just three years does not do justice,” Swaraj wrote on Twitter. “The sentence must commensurate with the gravity of the offence irrespective of the age of the offender.”
Subramanian Swamy of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party said the teen “should have been executed.”
“It’s ridiculous to think you can reform a person who has committed a heinous crime, who has raped and murdered a young woman in such a brutal fashion,” Swamy said.