Indian authorities formally charged five men today over the rape and murder of a 23-year-old university student in New Delhi that shocked the nation.
Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan filed a case of rape, tampering with evidence, kidnapping and murder in a new fast-track court opened only the day before with a specific brief to deal with crimes against women. A hearing has been set for Saturday.
Ram Singh, the driver of the bus on which the student was raped and beaten with iron rods for hours, was charged alongside his brother Mukesh and fellow suspects Pavan Gupta, Akshay Singh and Vinay Sharma.
The sixth suspect is expected to be tried in a juvenile court as he is only 17 years old.
The maximum sentence imposed by juvenile courts is three years imprisonment, but police are seeking the death penalty for the five adults, whose victim died of injuries sustained in the assault last Saturday.
The court will appoint lawyers for the men as the Bar Association said its lawyers were refusing to act for them because of the horrific nature of the crime.
Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, who opened the new court on Wednesday, said the government would be setting up at least four more fast-track courts in the capital to send the message that "these matters are going to be dealt with seriously."
Police in Assam state arrested Bikram Singh Brahma, a local leader of the India's ruling Congress Party, on suspicion of rape today.
Mr Brahma was apparently caught in the act by villagers in Santipur. TV footage showed local women restraining him and repeatedly slapping him across the face.
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