India government vows to combat gang rape of women

The scandal over the gang rape of women in India has taken a tragic new turn with the suicide of a 17-year-old girl.

As the teenager’s funeral was held in the northern Punjab state, it was revealed that police had failed to take effective action following the alleged sexual assault on her.

In her suicide note the girl claimed police tried to force a settlement between her family and those of her attackers. The local police chief has been sacked for negligence.

Meanwhile the government has responded amid protests over the case of a 23-year-old medical student, now fighting for life in a Singapore hospital after being brutally assaulted by six men in a New Delhi bus.

“Our only wish today is that she recovers and that she comes back to us and that no time is lost in bringing the perpetrators of such (a) barbarous act to justice,” said Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has set up two committees.

One will look into speeding up sexual assault trials. The other will examine the circumstances of the gang rape in New Delhi and suggest measures to improve women’s safety.

Demonstrators demanding better security for women have been protesting in the capital for days.