NEW DELHI — A bone test is being conducted to confirm the age of a young suspect in custody in the fatal assault and gang rape of a woman on a bus in India's capital, and prosecutors will seek the death penalty for five other men arrested with him, police said Tuesday.
The six will be formally charged in court on Thursday on accusations that they kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered the 23-year-old woman in New Delhi on Dec. 16, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.
Outraged Indians have been demanding the death penalty for the six men, holding demonstrations almost every day since the rape. Murder is punishable by death and rape by life imprisonment. But juveniles — those below 18 years of age — cannot be prosecuted for murder.
Another police officer said a bone test is being conducted to determine if the youngest suspect is indeed a juvenile. If the test determines he is 18 years or older he will be treated as an adult, the officer said.
The woman and a male companion were attacked when they boarded a private bus under the impression it was a public vehicle in southern New Delhi to go home. The six men, including the bus driver, allegedly took turns raping her and beat her with an iron bar which they also inserted into her body, causing severe injuries to her organs.
The woman, who has not been identified, was airlifted to Singapore for emergency treatment but died Saturday. She was cremated in New Delhi on Sunday.