India gang-rape victim’s friend recounts attack

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The 23-year-old woman died last weekend from massive internal injuries suffered during the attack.

On the night of the attack, the woman and her companion had just finished watching the movie “Life of Pi” at an upscale mall and were looking for a ride home. An autorickshaw driver declined to take them, so they boarded the private bus with the six assailants inside, the companion told Zee News.

After the pair were on the bus for a while, the men started harassing and attacking them.

“The attack was so brutal I can’t even tell you … even animals don’t behave like that,” the man said.

The men dumped their bleeding and naked bodies under an overpass. The woman’s companion waved to passersby on bikes, in autorickshaws and in cars for help, but no one stopped. “They slowed down, looked at our naked bodies and left,” he said.

“My friend was grievously injured and bleeding profusely,” he said. “Cars, autos and bikes slowed down and sped away. I kept waving for help. The ones who stopped stared at us, discussing what could have happened. Nobody did anything.”

After about 20 minutes, three police vans arrived, but the officers argued over who had jurisdiction over the crime as the man pleaded for clothes and an ambulance, he said.

Finally, he said, they were taken to a hospital.

The man said he was given no medical care. He then spent four days at the police station helping police investigate the crime. He said he visited his friend in the hospital, told her the attackers were arrested and promised to fight for her.

Authorities have not named the man because of the sensitivity of the case. Zee News also declined to give his name, although it did show his face during the interview.

Indian law prohibits the disclosure of the identity of victims in rape cases, and police have opened an investigation into the TV station for broadcasting the interview, New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said Saturday. Violators of the law can face up to two years in prison and a fine.

The woman’s companion said he gave the TV interview because he hopes it will encourage rape victims to come forward and speak about their ordeals without shame.

He said his friend was determined to see that the attackers were punished. “She gave all details of the crime to the magistrate — things we can’t even talk about,” he said. “She told me that the culprits should be burnt alive.”

He added, “People should move ahead in the struggle to prevent a similar crime happening again as a tribute to her.”

Most people in India are reluctant to get involved in police business because once they become witnesses, they can be dragged into legal cases that can go on for years. Also, Indian police are often seen less as protectors and more as harassers.

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