Hundreds in Fremont express concern over India rapes

January 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
In Fremont, hundreds of people turned out Tuesday night to offer prayers and express anger over the gang rape and murder of a young woman in India.

The gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in New Dehli, struck a nerve in Fremont where one of the Bay Area's largest Indian communities came to pray at the Fremont Hindu Temple.

"This one was just too brutal and it just hit home," said Fremont resident Lina Dabey.

Even though six men have been arrested and charged, protesters in New Dehli and around the world are calling for a change in laws to protect women.

"It's a matter of safety, it's a matter of pride, it's a matter of dignity and we have to all together -- no matter if you're a man or a woman -- we all have to fight," said Ruchira Munjal, who grew up in New Dehli.

Of the hundreds who came to pray, many say the incident represents a clash between old world culture and India's new modern society. Now they plan to take action.

"I think we need to send a petition to the Indian government to make sure there are stringent laws and they have faster action to be taken," said Dharminder Dewan, a Fremont Hindu Temple trustee.

Many here hope this incident will shed light on other women's rights issues.

"I would say things like the right to property, getting equal opportunity for jobs," said Dabey.

According to The New York Times, rapes in India have increased 25 percent over the past five years. There were 600 rapes in New Dehli last year, but only one conviction.

"Because it's like a shameful thing for them and how will their daughter face society? And that's the reason why a lot of these cases they just get buried," said Fremont resident Monika Chugh.

People in Fremont pointed out that crimes like this gang rape don't only happen in India and they're hoping this incident will trigger a worldwide outcry for more laws to protect women and their rights.