Anger and calls for justice in Delhi

Indian activists shout slogans demanding an amendment of juvenile justice laws during a protest against the sentence of a juvenile convicted in the December 2012 gang-rape of a student, The rape case sparked rage on the streets of Delhi and even prompted changes in the law

Four men have been found guilty of the fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi last December. The attack sparked days of angry protests and prompted nationwide soul-searching about levels of sexual violence in India.

BBC Hindi correspondents spoke to neighbours of the victim and the four men found guilty after the seven-month trial.

Dilnawaz Pasha in Ravi Dass Nagar, where the attackers lived

Policemen had been deployed to guard the families of the accused on verdict day and there were many journalists on the streets of Ravi Dass Nagar, an illegal settlement in south Delhi. This seemed to weigh on local residents. Many did not want to speak out.

Some family members of the accused had long since disappeared from the area.

The area where the family of the accused live Several of the accused lived in a poor and rundown area of the city

The shanty home of Ram Singh, the suspect who police say hanged himself earlier this year, was locked up and his parents had not been seen in the area for a long time.

Pawan Gupta's home had been locked from the outside, but his young sister was indoors. His parents could not be found at the local market where they are known to sell fruit.

Start Quote

He was never a bad boy in the locality. It is hard to believe that he committed such heinous crime”

End Quote Neighbour of accused Vinay Sharma

At one point his sister shouted out: "Why are you making our lives hell?"

Most of the people who live here are auto-rickshaw or taxi drivers. The youth here struggle to fit in mainstream society. Some of the girls go to college and they worry about their safety.

One 20-year-old woman who lives close by said: "I go to college and I am very afraid. The court should not give special preference to this case and must decide like it does in other cases. They should be punished within the law.

"Instead of setting examples the court would be better giving justice in all cases and not in some particular cases."

A women who lived next door to one of the men, Vinay Sharma, said: "All rapists should be punished like these poor boys. No matter whether they are godmen like Asaram [a high profile holy man recently accused of sexual assaults] or sons of some rich businessmen or politicians."

About the accused she said: "He was never a bad boy in the locality. It is hard to believe that he committed such a heinous crime."

And many local women expressed their concern, but said they did not want to be associated with the accused in any way.

Zubair Ahmed in Dwarka, where the victim lived

The victim's parents and siblings were in court hearing the verdict being read out when I visited Dwarka in western Delhi, one of the planned urban neighbourhoods home to the city's burgeoning middle classes.

This is where the victim lived with her family in a quiet block of flats.

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Ms Saini

They should be living examples for those who want to molest or rape women”

End Quote Ms Saini, neighbour of the victim

I saw two women getting out of a car and asked them if they knew the family. One of them, Savitri, instantly pointed at a top floor flat: "We know they live upstairs but we have never seen them."

And what did they make of the verdict? Her friend Dhanvanti got excited, even agitated, saying she wanted to see the severest punishment for the guilty: "Their limbs should be chopped off in public as a real deterrent."

These views could be found among other neighbours.

One woman, Ms Saini, charged towards me to give her reaction on the court verdict: "Don't give them [the] death sentence as it'll soon be forgotten. Cut off their hands and legs and keep them alive. They should be living examples for those who want to molest or rape women."

Sunil, 24, a local cable operator had similar views: "Make them suffer in full public view. Give them Saudi-style punishment."

Such opinions were tempered by the realisation that punishment alone cannot prevent rape and molestation cases.

Everybody I spoke to admitted a need to change the mindset of Indian men. "They have to learn to respect women," Savitri said. But Sunil added that women need to be vigilant and not venture into lonely places.

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