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India prime minister calls for peace after rape protests

India prime minister Manmohan Singh [official profile] in a televised public address on Sunday called for peace and promised to prevent further attacks on women after protest over sex crimes turned violent. Singh reiterated [New Delhi Television report] the government's commitment to providing security to women, but stated that violent clashes with police amid protests was not the answer. Some additional protest resulted when Singh asked "theek hai (alright?)" [New Delhi Television report] after his speech. This heightened atmosphere is the result of the gang rape last Sunday [AFP report] of a student in New Delhi. Six men have since been arrested and each man is presented with a life sentence if it is determined that he played any role in the savage attack.

India has recently dealt with some controversial sexual rights and rape issues. In February, the Indian Supreme Court heard additional arguments [JURIST report] challenging the decriminalization of homosexual intercourse. In 2009, the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexual conduct [JURIST report] by declaring India's anti-sodomy law unconstitutional. In 2008, the UN found significant evidence that Indian peacekeeping troops committed sex-crimes [JURIST report] while stations with the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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