The 23-year-old student whose gang-rape on a Delhi bus and subsequent death sparked protests across India will speak from the grave in a “dying declaration” that will be read at the trial of her alleged attackers.
Known by a variety of poignant names — among them “Braveheart,” and “India’s daughter” — the young woman, whose real name is Jyoti Singh Pandey, was gang-raped and beaten by six men on December 16 when she boarded a bus with a male friend after a cinema outing.
According to The Telegraph, who have seen a copy of the declaration, Jyoti’s injuries were so severe that 95 percent of her intestines had to be removed.
The physiotherapy intern died at Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore, 13 days after being attacked. Jyoti also suffered brain injuries, a heart attack, and abdominal infections.
Five men appeared in court on last Monday and Thursday charged with rape and murder, while the sixth defendant, believed to be aged 17, will be tried separately in a juvenile court.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, lawyers for four of the suspects have said their clients will plead not guilty. They have also claimed the men have been tortured and intimidated by a police force – themselves accused of laissez faire — into making false confessions.
In addition to DNA evidence that last week Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said showed Jyoti’s blood was found in stains on the suspects’ clothes, her “voice” will now be heard in the the courtroom.
Jyoti’s statements to police were made while she was treated at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital and will be read out as part of the prosecution’s case. Her declaration was taken on December 21, just eight days before her death.
Its contents make for horrifying reading. It begins with Joyti describing her journey home after watching The Life of Pi at Delhi’s Citywalk Mall.
Despite misgivings, she and her friend Awninder Pandey, a 28-year-old software engineer, boarded the bus after hearing the conductor call out their destination — Dwarka — because they wanted to get home quickly.
Jyoti’s declaration says she saw “six or seven” people on the bus and assumed they were passengers. Her statement said:
“The conductor closed the doors of the bus. He closed the lights of the bus and came towards my friend and started abusing and beating him. They held his hands and held me and took me to the back of the bus. They tore my clothes and raped me in turns. They hit me with an iron rod and bit me on my entire body with their teeth.”
“They took all belongings, my mobile phone, purse, credit card, debit card, watches etc. Six people raped me in turns for nearly one hour in a moving bus. The driver of the bus kept changing so that he could also rape me.”
Jyoti describes how she and Awindra tried to fight off their attackers but were unable to. While their screams for help went unheard by passers-by outside, their mobile phones were also taken away from them.
Horrifyingly, Jyoti reveals that such was the brutality of the attack that she was unconscious for some of it, only to be attacked again when she awoke. She said:
“I heard these people saying ‘catch them, tear their clothes, hit them, take her bag’ and using abusive language. Ram Singh, Thakkur, Raju, Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay etc were their names, We were all the time in total darkness, they were all looking black [in shadow.] By their language they were illiterate, driver-cleaner type people.”
Towards the end of their ordeal, Jyoti said both and Awindra were stripped of their clothes and thrown off the bus.
“They removed all the clothes of my friend and they thought we had both died. They threw us out of the moving bus. We were both naked on the side of the road and many passers-by actually saw us and informed the police control room.”
Legal experts in India now believe the “dying declaration” will be the lynchpin in the prosecution’s case against the six accused since Jyoti cannot speak in person.
One of those experts Mumbai Advocate Shrikant Bhat told The Times of India:
“Such a dying declaration would be very strong as it is in her writing, going by media reports.” He added that,”based on the evidence that the police have regarding the identity of the accused, it would be a fit case for capital punishment.”
According to Independent.ie, Usha Chaturvedi, a magistrate who took Joyti’s statement which her mother witnessed, the young woman was asked her how she would like her attackers to be punished.
“All of them should be hung to death so that these criminals do not do any such acts to any other girls, which is inhuman. They are animal-like people. They should be burned alive,” Jyoti reportedly replied.