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A Life Examined: Who Was The Victim So Brutally Murdered In India?

At a vigil last week in Calcutta, India, the victim was remembered and calls were made for new laws to protect women.
Dibyangshu Sarkar
AFP/Getty Images
At a vigil last week in Calcutta, India, the victim was remembered and calls were made for new laws to protect women.

Her death has caused outrage in India and around the world.

This morning, The Wall Street Journal adds some texture to the story of the young woman who was raped, beaten, left for dead — and later did die — last month in New Delhi. Five men and one presumed juvenile have been accused of the heinous crime, as NPR's Juilie McCarthy has been reporting.

The Journal's report, based on "interviews with family and friends," reconstructs details of the shortened life of 23-year-old "Bitiya" (the family's nickname for the victim; it means daughter). She was, the Journal writes, a young woman who wanted to be a doctor but studied physiotherapy instead because her family could't afford medical school.

On the day of her death, she and her mother "cooked lunch—fritters in yogurt, beans, and puffy bread called puri." Bitiya and her siblings "teased each other about who would steal a bite of their father's food."

Later, she went to see the movie Life of Pi with a male friend. He was also beaten by the attackers, who lured the two onto a bus with the promise of a ride home.

We won't pull more from the report because that wouldn't be fair to the Journal. The story isn't behind the newspaper's pay wall. If you're looking to know more about this young woman's life, you might want to put it on your reading list.

Update 3:10 p.m. ET. "It's Now Or Never" For India's Leaders To Change Things:

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Kiran Bedi, India's first female police officer

Kiran Bedi, who was India's first female police officer and rose in ranks over the years to posts including director general at the Bureau of Police Research and Development, spoke today with NPR's Audie Cornish.

"It's now or never," she said, for India's leaders to accept the expected recommendations of a commission to toughen the laws about sexual crimes and violence against women and to enact changes that bring swifter justice. "If the government drags its feet on it, the youth [will] go back to the ground and demonstrate and agitate," she said.

Much more from their conversation is due on today's All Things Considered. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show.

You can also hear and see Bedi in this interview with the BBC.

Update at 1 p.m. ET. Call Center Work Put Her In Touch With Canadians:

Toronto's Globe and Mail notes that the Journal says the young woman worked nights at a call center, often speaking with Canadian mortgage holders. Which means, the Globe and Mail says, many Canadians may have spoken to her in recent years.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.