Hurried morning cremation for rape victim

Delhi gangrape

Amid an outpouring of anger and grief in the country, the body of the 23-year-old paramedical student who was gangraped and tortured in a moving bus in Delhi, was flown to the national capital from Singapore early this morning and cremated within hours.

The mortal remains of the victim, who lost her battle for life in a Singapore hospital on Saturday, were consigned to flames here early on Sunday, away from public glare, shortly after her body was received by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the early hours.

The funeral pyre was lit by her sobbing father at a crematorium in Dwarka after relatives and friends said their final prayers at a ritual at the house where the girl lived in Delhi.

The Prime Minister and Sonia waited in the Palam technical area of the IGI airport where a special Air India aircraft, AIC-380A, carrying the body of the girl, accompanied by her parents and two brothers, taxied down the tarmac in heavy fog in a sombre atmosphere, reflecting the national mood against the attack on her on the night of December 16. After the plane landed at around 3:30 am, the PM and Sonia met the disconsolate family members.

Amidst heavy deployment of Delhi Police, Border Security Force (BSF) and Rapid Action Force personnel in riot gear, the body was taken to the house where the girl lived, before being taken to the crematorium in Dwarka.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Minister of State for Home Affairs R P N Singh, West Delhi MP Mahabal Mishra, Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta were among those present at the cremation.

It was only late last night that police approached the officials of the Dwarka crematorium for an early morning cremation of the victim. The cremation plans were kept a closely guarded secret till the last moment, as police apprehended a large gathering may cause law and order problems.

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