By Ross Colvin and Kevin Lim | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

NEW DELHI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A woman whose gang rape sparked protests and a national debate about violence against women in India died of her injuries on Saturday, prompting a security lockdown in New Delhi and an acknowledgement from India’s prime minister that social change is needed.

The six suspects held in connection with the December 16 attack on the 23-year-old medical student on a New Delhi bus were charged with murder following her death, police said. The maximum penalty for murder is death.

Earlier, bracing for a new wave of protests, Indian authorities deployed thousands of policemen, closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the heart of New Delhi, where demonstrators have converged since the attack to demand improved women’s rights.

Despite efforts to cordon off the city centre, more than 1,000 people gathered for peaceful protests at two locations. Some protesters shouted for justice, others for the death penalty for the rapists.

The woman severely beaten, raped and thrown out of a moving bus, had been flown to Singapore in a critical condition by the Indian government on Thursday for treatment.

The intense media coverage of the attack and the use of social media to galvanize protests, mostly by young middle-class students, has forced political leaders to confront some uncomfortable truths about the treatment of women in the world’s largest democracy.

Most sex crimes in India go unreported, many offenders go unpunished, and the wheels of justice turn slowly, according to social activists who say that successive governments have done little to ensure the safety of women.

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