Gang Rapists Sentenced to Death In India as 'Strong Signal'

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/ Source: Reuters

Three men were sentenced to death on Friday for two gang rapes last year in Mumbai, including an attack on a photojournalist that sparked protests in the city and raised fresh questions about attitudes to women in the world's largest democracy.

A Mumbai court on Friday sentenced Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Mohammed Salim Ansari to death, the first time capital punishment has been given for rape not involving the death of the victim.

"There was no chance of reformation in these men and this sends a strong signal to society," special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters outside the court.

Kasim Bengali prepares to spit at photographers from inside a police van in Mumbai, India, on Friday. He was sentenced to death.INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP - Getty Images

Women's safety in India has been under the spotlight since the gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi in 2012, which provoked nationwide protests and the introduction of tougher sexual assault laws.

But a stream of high-profile attacks has raised concerns that little has changed.

"I think the court has given a distinct, definite and welcome verdict," said Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police in Mumbai.

The attack on the photojournalist provoked a public outcry partly because Mumbai, India's financial capital is considered one of the country's safest cities for women.

- Reuters