India police to charge 5 with murder in brutal gang-rape, test 6th suspect to confirm age

Indian men hold posters while participating in a candle-lit vigil to mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, India, Dec. 31, 2012.
AP Photo/ Dar Yasin

NEW DELHI Indian police said Tuesday that they expect to formally charge five of six suspects with murder in the death of 23-year-old woman who was raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. The sixth suspect in the case that has outraged the country is under 18 and a juvenile.

Police ordered a bone test for the sixth accused to confirm his age, according to a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters. Under Indian law, a juvenile cannot be prosecuted for murder.

New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said Tuesday that a charge-sheet in the case will be filed in court on Thursday. The suspects face the death penalty if convicted. CBS News' Sanjay Jha says the charges will fill an estimated 1,000 pages, and name about 30 witnesses to the attack.

The physiotherapy student died last week in a Singapore hospital where she had been sent for emergency treatment after the crime in India's capital on Dec. 16.

The case has triggered protests across India and raised questions about lax attitudes by police toward sexual crimes.

Protesters and politicians from across the spectrum called for a special session of Parliament to pass new laws to increase punishments for rapists — including possible chemical castration — and to set up fast-track courts to deal with rape cases within 90 days.

Thousands of Indians have lit candles, held prayer meetings and marched through various cities and towns to express their grief and demand stronger protection for women and the death penalty for rape, which is now punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment.

On Monday, the Indian army and navy canceled their New Year's celebrations, as did Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress party. Several hotels and clubs across the capital also did not hold their usual parties

Women face daily harassment across India, including catcalls on the streets and groping and touching on public transport.