Indian media: Outrage over Calcutta gang rape

Protest in Calcutta on Wednesday 1 January 2014 against the gang rape and alleged murder of a teenager
Image caption The gang rape of a 16-year-old girl has sparked outrage in Calcutta

Media are reflecting the growing anger in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta over the gang-rape of a teenager.

The 16-year-old girl was raped by a group of men on 26 October and again the next day when she was returning from a police station after filing a complaint, reports said.

The girl set herself on fire on 23 December and succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday, media reports said.

But her father has alleged that she did not kill herself and was instead set ablaze by her rapists.

"The city was rudely shocked after it came to light that the victim told the police on 27 December that a group of criminals set her ablaze and she did not try to commit suicide," the Hindustan Times reports.

Papers said that people of Calcutta were outraged when police allegedly tried to stop the victim's father from organising a condolence meeting before cremating her body.

"Police were in such a hurry to cremate her before daybreak that they landed up at the house of the bereaved family - with the body - at 02:30am [21:00GMT] and threatened to break down their door unless they were given the death certificate that would allow cremation," The Times of India reported.

The police "hijacked the body while it was on its way from her home to the mortuary where it was to be kept for the night", reported the NDTV website.

The police apparently wanted to prevent trade unions from taking the body for cremation and use the occasion to protest against the growing cases of violence against women in Calcutta, the report adds.

The website further adds that "the battle for the body raged for three hours at the crematorium till the police suddenly gave in. Clearly, it was on instructions from higher ups".

The incident has sparked outrage in Calcutta.

"The unexplained haste and utter disregard for family sentiments by the administration triggered widespread protests in the city," The Times of India says.

The police, however, deny these allegations and say they wanted to prevent any "law-and-order problem" in the city, the paper adds.

The incident comes a year after the brutal gang rape of a student in Delhi that triggered huge protests across the country.

Cold wave

In another tragic news, at least two homeless people have died in Delhi from cold.

Following the deaths, the new Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has announced that 45 more "night shelters" will be set up for the homeless in the capital, the Hindustan Times reports.

Staying with the AAP, V Balakrishnan, a former board-member of software giant Infosys, has joined the party, reports say.

"I would like to be a part of the revolution happening in the country," the Firstpost website quotes him as saying.

Led by former civil servant Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP was born out of a strong anti-corruption movement that swept India two years ago.

Meanwhile, President Pranab Mukherjee has signed the Lokpal (Ombudsman) Bill and it has officially become a law, The Hindu reports.

The bill, passed by the parliament in December, empowers an independent ombudsman to prosecute politicians and civil servants for corruption.

And finally, three new tiger cubs have been spotted in the Ranthambore tiger reserve in Rajasthan, the Deccan Herald reports.

"It was only after we took a picture of the tigress with her cubs that we were able to confirm the birth," the paper quotes a park official as saying.

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