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Prayers and vigil as India remembers deceased victim of brutal gang-rape

NEW DELHI--With vigils and prayers, India on Sunday marked the first anniversary of the death of a student savagely gang-raped on a bus — a tragedy that sparked nationwide protests against the treatment of women.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student died on Dec. 29 last year, nearly two weeks after being attacked by a gang of six men on a moving bus as she returned home from the cinema in New Delhi with a male companion.

The attack and her subsequent death shook the country, shone a global spotlight on India's treatment of women and unleashed seething public anger about sexual violence and harassment of women.

The victim's family held a religious ceremony in their ancestral village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, away from the constant media attention they have faced since the attack, her brother said.

“We held prayers in memory of our sister,” the brother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told AFP.

“The local villagers have been coming to our home since the morning and giving their wishes and strength to us,” said the brother, who earlier told AFP the family wanted to remember her “in a quiet way, away from all the glare.”

The family are following traditional Hindu rituals, with a prayer ceremony and symbolic offerings to their ancestors, which are believed to bring peace to those who have died.

The student, who was repeatedly assaulted with an iron rod during her ordeal, has been praised for her determination to report her attackers to the police before she died of her injuries.

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Indian demonstrators hold placards during a protest in New Delhi on Sunday, Dec. 29. India marked the first anniversary of the death of a student savagely gang-raped on a Delhi bus — a tragedy that sparked nationwide protests.

(AFP)

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