New Delhi, Dec 31 (IBNS): People in India welcomed the new year with toned-down celebrations, as large parts of the country continued to mourn the 23-year-old victim of the brutal gang-rape in Delhi.
Celebrations were visibly watered down in major cities across India - which usually play host to the most lavish New Year's bashes in the country as the Delhi gang-rape and subsequent debate about women's safety continued to play on in the national consciousness.
The victim, who had been raped and brutalised with an iron rod by six men on a moving bus on Dec 16, had been cremated under heavy security on Sunday, after losing a 13-day-long battle for her life at a Singapore hospital.
As a mark of respect for the woman and also sensing the sombre mood prevailed in the country, a number of official and private celebrations were also called off or toned down.
Sonia Gandhi, the powerful chief of India's ruling Congress party and the nation's armed forces were among those who announced that no celebrations were being organised for the New Year.
Several hotels, clubs and residents associations in the national capital also decided to either cancel planned festivities or scale back parties in a show of respect for the victim and her family.
President Pranab Mukherjee in his New Year message said that 2013 should be dedicated to welfare of women.
"We mark the advent of the New Year under a pall of gloom, as the nation mourns the tragic loss of a brave young girl who became the victim of a heinous crime," Mukherjee said.
Meanwhile, even as prohibitory orders remained in place in the nation capital, protests and demonstrations against the gruesome incident continued in New Delhi centred around Jantar Mantar.