Outrage over Indian police chief suggestion that women should carry chilli powder and not go out at night to avoid rapeComments by Commissioner KP Raghuvanshi, head of police in ThaneActivists condemned the commissioner's remarks as sexist and 'idiotic'It follows the gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi
12:08 GMT, 21 December 2012
A police chief in India has sparked outrage after a woman was gang raped on a bus by saying women should carry chili powder to defend themselves.
Commissioner KP Raghuvanshi, head of police in Thane, in the state of Maharashtra, suggested women can avoid rape by not traveling at night and trying to defend themselves.
Activists condemned the commissioner's remarks as sexist and 'idiotic'.
Anger: Students in New Delhi take part in a candlelit vigil outside Safdarjung Hospital where the gang-rape victim is being treated
Police use water cannons to disperse the students demonstrating against the recent gang rape case, at Delhi Chief Minister's residence in New Delhi
Ranjana Rumari, director of the Center for Social Research in Delhi, said: 'This is just a sexist sort of solution.
'They want women to stay home. And how is chili powder going to help against six or seven men'
Rape has become the subject of national discussion in India since the violent gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi. The victim remains in critical condition at the hospital with severe internal injuries, doctors said.
Police said six men raped the woman and savagely beat her and her companion with iron rods on a bus driving around the city – passing through several police checkpoints – before stripping them and dumping them on the side of the road Sunday night.
Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar said four men have been arrested and a search is under way for the other two.
The attack has prompted massive protests across India, as thousands of demonstrators gathered in the streets in front of New Delhi police headquarters, near Parliament, and outside the home of the city's top elected official before police dispersed them with water cannons.
Women light candles during a candlelight vigil in support of women safety in Mumbai
The police chief's comments sparked outrage across the country and a series of demonstrations were held
Indian activists shout slogans outside police headquarters during a protest in New Delhi
BJP women members raise slogans during a protest demonstration against the recent gang rape case, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi
'We want to jolt people awake from the cozy comfort of their cars. We want people to feel the pain of what women go through every day,' said Aditi Roy, a Delhi University student.
As protests raged in cities across India, at least two girls were gang-raped, with one of them killed.
Police on Wednesday fished out the body of a 10-year old girl from a canal in Bihar state's Saharsa district.
Police superintendent Ajit Kumar Satyarthi said the girl had been gang-raped and killed and her body dumped in the canal. Police were investigating and a breakthrough was expected soon, Satyarthi said.
Elsewhere, a 14-year old schoolgirl was in critical condition in Banka district of Bihar after she was raped by four men, said Jyoti Kumar, the district education officer.
The men have been identified, but police were yet to make any arrests, Kumar said.
Rapes in India remain drastically under reported. In many cases, families do not report rapes due to the stigma that follows the victim and her family.
In other instances, families may decide not to report a rape out of frustration with the long delays in court and harassment at the hands of the police.
Police are reluctant to register cases of rape and domestic violence in order to keep down crime figures or to elicit a bribe from the victim.