NEW DELHI Authorities filed rape and murder charges Thursday against five men accused of the gang rape of a 23-year-old university student on a New Delhi bus, a crime that horrified Indians and provoked a national debate about the treatment of women.
Police said they plan to push for the death penalty in the case, as government officials promised new measures to protect women in the nation's capital.
Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan filed a case of rape, tampering with evidence, kidnapping, murder and other charges against the men in a new fast-track court in south Delhi inaugurated only the day before to deal specifically with crimes against women. Mohan asked for a closed trial and a hearing was set for Saturday.
The men charged are Ram Singh, 33, the bus driver; his brother Mukesh Singh, 26, who cleans buses for the same company; Pavan Gupta, 19, a fruit vendor; Akshay Singh, 24, a bus washer; and Vinay Sharma, 20, a fitness trainer.
A sixth suspect was listed as 17 and was expected to be tried in a juvenile court, where the maximum sentence would be three years in a reform facility.
The Dec. 16 attack on the woman, who died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital on Saturday, has caused outrage across India, sparking protests and demands for tough new rape laws, better police protection for women and a sustained campaign to change society's views about women.