Kumari said the country was failing in its basic responsibility to protect its citizens. But she was heartened to see so many young men at the protests along with women.
"I have never heard so many people who felt so deep down hurt," she said. "It will definitely have some impact."
In Geneva, the U.N. human rights chief called Monday for fundamental change in India.
"Let us hope that 2013 will be the year the tide is turned on violence against women in India and all women can walk free without fear," said Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights. "The public is demanding a transformation in systems that discriminate against women to a culture that respects the dignity of women in law and practice," she said in a statement.
Pillay, a South African of Indian origin, urged Indians not to give in to calls for capital punishment for rapists. "However terrible the crime, the death penalty is not the answer," she said.
Associated Press reporters Archana Thiyagarajan and Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.
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