The male companion of the Indian gang rape victim who later died, has spoken publicly about how he tried in vain to save his female friend to stop the “cruelty that should never be seen.”
In a first time interview on Zee News, an Indian television channel, the 28-year-old software firm employee (who was not named), described the December 16 attack — in which six men gang raped a 23-year-old medical student, then beat both of them with iron bars — before stripping and throwing the pair off the bus they had boarded.
The man and the female victim were attacked after a trip to watch a film in New Delhi, Yahoo News reports.
In a harrowing account, the man said:
“The occupants of the bus, which had tinted windows and curtains, had laid a trap for us. They were probably involved in crimes before also. They beat us up, hit us with an iron rod, snatched our clothes and belongings and threw us off the bus on a deserted stretch.”
“The bus occupants had everything planned. Apart from the driver and the helper, others behaved like they were passengers. We even paid 20 (rupees) as fare. They then started teasing my friend and it led to a brawl. I beat three of them up but then the rest of them brought an iron rod and hit me. Before I fell unconscious, they took my friend away.”
“From where we boarded the bus, they moved around for nearly two and a half hours. We were shouting, trying to make people hear us. But they switched off the lights of the bus. We tried to resist them. Even my friend fought with them, she tried to save me. She tried to dial the police control room number 100, but the accused snatched her mobile away.”
After that the “driver and the other men raped my friend and hit her in the worst possible ways in the most private parts of her body,” said the witness. He added, “I cannot tell you what I feel when I think of it. I shiver in pain,” Yahoo News reports.
That violation, in fact, caused catastrophic internal injuries that contributed to the young woman’s later death in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
Recalling the events after the nearly two and a half-hour attack, the man spoke damningly of the couple’s treatment by passers-by, the police, and the hospital they were eventually taken to.
After they were thrown off the still moving bus by their attackers, he said passers-by gathered round and stared at the pair as they lay bleeding and naked on the street but nobody helped.
He told Zee News,”before the police came I screamed for help but the auto rickshaws, cars and others passing by did not stop.”
According to The Guardian, three police vans arrived 45 minutes later.
The friend said: “we kept shouting at the police, ‘please give us some clothes’ but they were busy deciding which police station our case should be registered at. It took an hour and a half for us to be taken to hospital.”
He later revealed that he had to carry his bleeding friend to the police van himself since “the policemen didn’t help us … they were probably worried about their clothes,” the LA Times reports.
Despite asking that the police cover his friend, the man said they were eventually offered a bed sheet by the police only after repeated requests.
The horror of the situation was made worse at the hospital. The pair were made to wait for treatment and the man said he “had to literally beg for clothes,” notes the LA Times.
It’s likely this latest graphic account will ignite more anger in a country which has seen daily protests since news of the attack emerged, and tapped into a groundswell of fury about an endemic problem of inadequately dealt with sex crimes against women.
Ongoing investigations into the way the incident was dealt with by police will no doubt analyse previous statements by Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat.
According to The Guardian, Bhagat told Reuters that GPS records showed the first police van reached the scene four minutes after it was called. He said it took the man and the woman to hospital within 24 minutes.
The witness’ account directly contradicts statements Delhi police made about their response to the gang rape attack.
Since the attack, five men were charged with gang rape and murder on Thursday. A court is due to consider the charges on Saturday. One of the attackers is believed to be a juvenile aged 17, said Yahoo News.
The victim’s family and protesters have called for all the rape suspects to be hanged. Other interested lobbies are also calling for far-reaching changes in the way rape victims are treated when they report a crime.
National crime records show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded in India last year were against women and rape cases more than doubled between 1990 and 2008.
After the interview was aired, New Delhi police said they would sue Zee News under an Indian criminal code that protects the anonymity of victims of offences such as rape, LiveMint and The Wall Street Journal report.