The Telegraph
New Delhi

Indian officials have announced a broad campaign to protect women in Delhi following the gang rape and brutal beating of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in the capital.

The attack sparked days of protests across the country from women demanding that authorities take tougher action to protect them against the daily threat of harassment and violence. The government said it is taking steps to address those concerns.

"There will not be any tolerance for crimes against women," Home Secretary R.K. Singh said.

Bus drivers in New Delhi will be required to display their identification prominently in the vehicles, buses are now required to remove tinting from their windows and plainclothes police are being placed on buses to protect female passengers, he said. In addition, chartered buses such as the one where the attack occurred will be impounded if they illegally ply for fares on the streets, he said.

Authorities are also cracking down on drunk driving and on loitering gangs of drunken youths, he added.

The victim and a companion were attacked after getting a ride on a chartered bus after going to the cinema on Sunday evening. Police said the men on the bus gang-raped her and beat her and her companion with iron rods as the bus drove through the city for hours, even passing through police checkpoints. The assailants eventually stripped the pair and dumped them on the side of a road.

The woman remains in a serious condition in a Delhi hospital.

Protesters marched to the presidential residence yesterday and towards parliament, while theatre troupes performed plays about women's safety in a park in central Delhi. A group blocked traffic near the hospital where the victim, who had severe internal injuries, was being treated.

The case has brought the issue of rape in India to the fore. A think-tank report released on Thursday revealed that at least 20 men accused of raping women ran in Indian elections in the last five years

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) study said many Indian parties fielded candidates who were facing rape accusations.

"Since 2007, political parties gave tickets to 20 rape accused to fight in state elections. This is shocking and requires urgent action," Jagdeep Chhokar, the founder of ADR, said.

"The politicians who come out to condemn rape are the ones who are openly giving the rape accused a chance to fight elections. This is hypocrisy."

The report stated that political parties had also given tickets to 260 men who were charged with other crimes against women, including molestation.

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