Delhi gang-rape: Armed Forces cancel New Year parties, Sonia to shun celebrations
New Delhi: The Armed Forces called off their Year's Eve parties while Congress President Sonia Gandhi will shun celebrations as the country numbed by the death of the gang-raped girl is set to usher in 2013 in a sombre mood.
Several hotels, clubs and residents associations in Delhi have decided to either cancel planned festivities or scale back parties in a show of sympathy for the 23-year-old physiotherapy student who died last Saturday in a Singapore hospital after she grimly fought for her life for nearly two weeks.
Several young protesters assembled at Jantar Mantar on a day when the Capital witnessed the season's coldest day at 13.3 degree Celsius said there will be no revelries for them and that they would light candles to express their solidarity with the victim.
Reports of toned down celebrations by business houses and star hotels were also coming in from across the country.
Defence Ministry and the three Services have decided against organising their New Year bashes, Defence Ministry officials said. Like on previous occasions, Defence Minister AK Antony will have a quiet new year this time too.
In view of the December 16 gang-rape incident here, Antony had not even accepted birthday wishes from anyone on December 28.
The Army has issued advisories to all formations that they should not organise new year parties, Army officials said.
The Navy and the Indian Air Force have also told their formations not to organise any bashes this year in view of the death of the gang-rape victim.
"Sonia Gandhi has appealed to party-men and well-wishers against coming to her to extend New Year greetings in the wake of gangrape incident," party General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gandhi were present at the airport when the mortal remains of the victim were flown in here from Singapore in the small hours yesterday
Both Singh and Gandhi had spoken to the family members and consoled them.
"December 28 is close to New Year. Normally, we wish each other but not so this time as our thoughts are with the young woman...," she had told reporters on the 127th Foundation Day of Congress at AICC headquarters here on Friday.