Vigil on Parliament Hill for India gang rape victim draws 100 in freezing cold

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/01/02/vigil-on-parliament-hill-for-india-gang-rape-victim-draws-100-in-freezing-cold

The 23-year-old woman viciously gang-raped in India was in the hearts of about 100 Canadians who turned out in freezing temperatures for a candlelight vigil on Parliament Hill on Wednesday night.

“This issue cannot be kept quiet. People need to stand up and to make sure that violence stops against women,” said organizer Meenakshi Sharma.

Wednesday felt like -26C with the wind chill.

But that didn’t deter supporters, who recited poems and chants.

“I just want to show my solidarity for that little brave girl who couldn’t survive that torture, and I hope we are getting together to give our voice to tell the Indian government to do something about it,” said Sukhmander Atwal.

The victim, a medical student, was transferred to a Singapore hospital and died Dec. 29 from severe injuries sustained during the Dec. 16 attack in Delhi.

The woman was gang-raped and violated with an iron rod for 40 minutes before being thrown from the moving bus.

At least five of the six men are expected to face charges including rape, murder and kidnapping.

The incident has sparked a global movement.

The woman behind the Ottawa vigil said the event isn’t a one-time deal.

“We definitely want this to become an annual vigil, and that way we can pay our respects to not just this 23-year-old victim, but all the other victims that have been affected by sexual assault,” said Sharma.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

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