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The attack of a physiotherapy student on a bus in New Delhi, and her death, on December 28 has triggered a national dialogue on how to protect women in India. However, activists are concerned the government will squash fundamental rights in its rush to satisfy popular rage.
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India is looking for answers, as well as faster, harsher punishments after a brutal sexual assault rocked the nation last month.
The accused appeared in a New Delhi court Monday in a newly created fast-track court. Before Monday's court appearance the five did not have defense lawyers. Members of the bar association in South Delhi even went as far as vowing not to represent them. Their lack of representation could give grounds for appeal if they are found guilty.
A government panel is also considering making the death penalty mandatory in rape cases as well as introducing chemical castration for those found guilty.
Activists are worried that by focusing on punishment, India may be missing out on a chance to enact real changes to a judicial system greatly in need.