Six Men Have Been Arrested Over The Gang Rape Of A Woman On A Bus In India, Four Weeks After A Deadly Attack In The Capital Outraged Indians And Led To Calls For Tougher Rape Laws.

A 29-year-old woman was the only passenger on a bus travelling to her village in northern Punjab state on Friday night, policeman Raj Jeet Singh said.

The driver did not stop at her village despite her repeated pleas and drove her to a desolate location.

The driver and conductor took her to a nearby building, where they were joined by five friends, and all took turns raping her throughout the night, the officer said. She was dropped off at her village early Saturday.

Police arrested six suspects that day and were searching for another, Mr Singh said.

The brutal rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a New Delhi bus last month set off protests and an impassioned debate about misogyny and mistreatment of women in India, and how to prevent such tragedies.

"It's a very deep malaise. This aspect of gender justice hasn't been dealt with in our nation-building task," said Seema Mustafa, a writer on social issues who heads the Centre for Policy Analysis think tank.

"Police haven't dealt with the issue severely in the past. The message that goes out is that the punishment doesn't match the crime. Criminals think they can get away it."

In her first published comments yesterday, the mother of the deceased student said all six suspects in that case, including one believed to be a juvenile, deserved to die.

She was quoted by The Times of India as saying her daughter told her that the youngest suspect had participated in the most brutal aspects of the rape.

Five men have been charged with her rape and murder and face a possible death penalty if convicted. The sixth, who says he is 17, is likely to be tried in a juvenile court if medical tests confirm he is a minor. His maximum sentence would be three years in a reform facility.

"Now the only thing that will satisfy us is to see them punished. For what they did to her, they deserve to die," the newspaper quoted the mother as saying.

The physiotherapy student died from massive internal injuries in a Singapore hospital, where she had been sent for emergency treatment.

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Jan 14, 2013