The father of the Indian gang rape victim who died after multiple injuries from a sustained and savage attack has now publicly revealed her name.
It is Jyoti Singh Pandey.
Her father, Badri Pandey, 53, told The Sunday People, “We want the world to know her real name.”
Interviewed in his ancestral village of Billia in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, far from their second home in Delhi, he added:
“My daughter didn’t do anything wrong, she died while protecting herself. I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter.”
On December 16, Jyoti, 23, and her friend, Awinda Pandey, 28 — who Badri says his daughter did not intend to marry as they were from different castes — boarded a bus in New Delhi after a cinema trip to see the Life of Pi.
During that bus ride, six men repeatedly raped Jyoti, a physiotherapy student, beating her and Awinda with metal rods before stripping them and throwing them off the bus while it was still moving.
Yesterday, in an interview with Zee News, an Indian television network, Awinda said that the attack lasted nearly two and a half hours.
Awinda’s account revealed that the pair lay bleeding and naked on the Delhi street for nearly one hour before a passer-by stopped and actively helped, and a further 45 minutes before police arrived, said The Guardian.
Recalling the day he found out about his only daughter’s attack, Badri told People, he returned home at around 10.30 pm on December 16 after a work shift as a loader at Delhi airport to find his wife, Asha, panicking because Jyoti had not yet returned home.
After the family’s calls to Jyoti’s mobile were not answered, it was about 45 minutes later that a telephone call from a hospital informed them that their daughter had been in an “accident.”
“When I first saw her she was in the bed with her eyes closed. I put my hand on her forehead and called her name. She slowly opened her eyes and started crying and said she was in pain.”
It was only later that Badri was told what had happened by police. When he later told the rest of his family to join him at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, he said he “couldn’t tell them about the rape” initially.
Badri said Jyoti drifted in and out of consciousness during her 10 day hospital stay and was only able to communicate with gestures at first, as she had a feeding pipe in her mouth. Later, his daughter did eventually write on a piece of paper that she wanted to live and stay with her family.
Badri said: “But it was fate that had the last say in the end.”
Jyoti died of a heart attack on December 29 at the Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore, after being airlifted to the transplant specialist facility three days before.
Before she died Jyoti gave to two statements to the police, but Badri revealed he was too upset to sit in to hear the full extent of his daughter’s ordeal. He said, “my wife was with her through the statements but she cried so much after hearing it all.”
“She then told me what happened. I don’t have the words to describe the incident. All I can say is they’re not human, not even animals. They’re not of this world.”
Badri said his daughter told her mother that Awinda tried to save her but was beaten back by the attackers.
Speaking of his daughter’s plans for the future, he told People:
“It’s hard living in Delhi on my wages, very hard. But Jyoti always said she would change all of that. She wanted to change our lives once she got a job.”
Jyoti had recently completed a four year course in physiotherapy at a college outside Delhi and was working as an intern.
In a message perhaps to the thousands in India who have protested about the attack and the huge endemic problem of sex crimes against Indian women that it has highlighted, Badri said:
“The people of India have given us strength to cope up with our loss. I feel she’s not just my daughter but also India’s daughter. I used to read about rape incidents in the newspapers but never digested it much. We’re so thankful to the people who came out to protest against the barbarity.”
Of the six suspects who were charged on Thursday with rape and murder, the grieving father said:
“At first I wanted to see the men responsible face to face but I don’t want to any more. I just want to hear that the courts have punished them and they will be hanged.
“Death for all six of them. These men are beasts. They should be made an example of and that society will not allow such things to happen.”
BBC News reports that a Delhi court heard today that DNA tests from blood allegedly found on remnants of the suspects clothes after they allegedly attempted to burn the garments, forensically links the five men with the gang rape.
The pre-trial hearing was held at the District Court in the Saket area of the Indian capital. Five of the six suspects have been ordered to appear before the female judge on Monday. The sixth suspect, reportedly 17, is expected to be tried as a juvenile.
The trial of the five is due to start in a week, in a new fast-track court opened last week specifically to try cases that deal with sexual violence against women, said The Guardian.
Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat has since denied key aspects of the timeline that Awinda Pandey outlined to Zee News. A previous police statement said the first vehicle arrived within four minutes of the emergency call, and left the scene with the victims within three minutes, reaching Safdarjung Hospital within a further 24, BBC News reports.
That timeline directly contradicts Awinda Pandey’s account which said the police took 45 minutes to arrive, and far longer to leave the scene due to a on-site debate by officers about which station had jurisdiction over the case.
Delhi police have since filed a case against Zee News for breaching anonymity laws by airing the interview.