Indian schoolgirls form numbers representing the year 2013 during a prayer ceremony Monday in Ahmadabad, India. The floral writing at the center reads “Condolences to Damini,” a symbolic name given to the victim.
Many Indians chose solemn reflection over celebration on New Year’s Eve in a tribute to the 23-year-old woman whose gang rape and beating led to her death in a Singapore hospital a few days ago.
The president and prime minister canceled their official events. The defense forces did not hold their usual “boisterous New Year’s Day revelry,” and an exclusive British-era club in New Delhi canceled a performance and asked its members to light candles instead, forgoing the profits that typically make the holiday an important date for the industry.
“No one felt like celebrating, and the club mourns tonight,” club member Samir Singh, 45, told The Washington Post in a telephone interview from his home. “Our thoughts go out to the family, and there is nothing to rejoice anyway.”
Dozens of protesters in New Delhi continued their sit-ins. The capital’s memorial arch, India Gate, which has long been the nerve center of late-night revelry in the capital, has been blocked and barricaded by heavy police and paramilitary deployment.
“We used to go to India Gate to ring in the new year,” said Digvijay Dahiya, a 38-year-old real estate agent from Gurgaon, an upscale suburb. “But today we can’t, and we don’t want to.”
Gurgaon’s main mall-lined street, the site of a horrific public molestation of a young woman on New Year’s Eve last year, was also closed to traffic and revelers.