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India Delhi Gang-rape Victim's Friend: Cops Wasted 30 Minutes Arguing About Jurisdiction


Apr 3, 2005
NEW DELHI: While Nirbhaya's brutal gang-rape horrified the nation, the events that followed the crime revealed shocking callousness on the part of both citizens and the police. In his first public statement, Nirbhaya's friend said on Friday that the two of them lay naked on the road for more than two hours with people stopping to look at them and then moving on.

"My friend was grievously injured and bleeding profusely. 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," he said in an interview to Zee News channel.

According to the friend, the apathy did not end even after the police entered the scene. Three PCR vans arrived at the spot. Then, in an exhibition of mindless, totally insensitive bureaucratic behaviour, the cops spent the next half-hour arguing over whose jurisdiction the crime fell under, he said.

"The police did not pick us up. One of them tore a sheet and offered it to me to cover my friend. In my injured state, I picked her up and put her in the PCR van," said the friend, narrating his story with poise and composure.

"The police took us to Safdarjung Hospital rather than going to the nearest private hospital. Had it not been late at night when there's hardly any traffic on the roads, my friend would have died that very day," he said.

Appearing on camera with his right leg still in a cast, the software engineer recounted the treatment meted out to him at Safdarjung Hospital. "When we reached the hospital, I sat without clothes on the floor for a long time even as my friend was taken inside for treatment."

He said for the next four days, he lay on a stretcher in the police station, where he was not provided any treatment or counselling. In fact, he added that his treatment was being done at a private hospital on his own expense.

Late at night, the police registered a case against Zee under Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with disclosure of identity of victims of certain offences.

Speaking about the heinous crime, he said the accused tricked them into boarding the bus, which had black film on the windows and curtains. "First, three of them came passing lewd comments. I fought with them. Then two more came with a rod. They hit me even as my friend was trying to shield me. We both kept shouting for help," he said.

The bus drove through the city for around two-and-a-half hours while the two were being attacked, the youth said.

Asked about the move to shift Nirbhaya to Singapore for treatment, he said it was an opportunistic decision aimed at controlling the protests. "When they thought the pressure was too much to handle, they moved her to Singapore. Had she been taken to a good hospital in the first place, she would have been alive."

He said Nirbhaya was so determined to see that the guilty are punished that she fought through her pain and gave her statement to the SDM twice. "She gave all details of the crime to the magistrate — things we can't even talk about. She told me that the culprits should be burnt alive."

"I never thought she won't live. She used to smile when I visited her. She used to tell her family not to worry. She asked about expenses. She was attached to her roots as any other commoner," he said.

On whether the police chief should step down, he avoided a direct answer, saying, "I don't want to ask them to resign. But if the SHO or the ACP or the DCP or the police commissioner realize they had lacked in their duty somewhere, they should resign on moral grounds. They should go on their own."

He urged the protesters to keep up the pressure on the authorities, saying that is the only way things could change. "Change won't happen by lighting candles, we need to change ourselves too. I feel everything was happening under the pressure of the protests. When the pressure was high, officials and politicians visited."

Significantly, he was not in favour of naming the new law on sexual offences after his friend. Instead, he said, the existing laws should be implemented properly. "We have enough laws. And laws do not have anything to do with name. The common people don't associate with the name or the sections; justice is more important for them. They should focus more on implementing laws and ensuring safety of the people."

The friend, who has been under counselling to overcome the trauma, said he was haunted by the events of December 16. "I can't forget that night or what happened after that. I keep blaming myself, thinking I should have not done this or that."



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Five Accused in New Delhi Gang Rape Case Plead Not Guilty


The five men accused in a brutal gang rape that led to nationwide protests entered not guilty pleas on Saturday to the 13 charges filed against them.

The charges — including gang rape, murder, kidnapping and conspiracy — stem from the Dec. 16 rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student who later died from her injuries. Reports of the attack led to days of protests in India over the treatment of women.

A trial for the five suspects — Ram Singh, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur — is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Saket District Court Complex in New Delhi.

V.K. Anand, defense counsel for the brothers Ram Singh and Mukesh Singh, said in a telephone interview that “All the five accused have pleaded not guilty.”

“The charges being framed is one thing,” Mr. Anand said, “but proving the charges is another.”

Pretrial arguments for the five suspects were completed on Wednesday. On Monday, the sixth suspect was declared officially a juvenile by the Indian Juvenile Justice Board, meaning the maximum sentence he could receive is three years in a detention facility.

If they are convicted, the five on trial could face the death penalty. The Supreme Court dismissed a plea to transfer the New Delhi gang rape trial outside the city on Tuesday. The trial, which is being carefully watched by the country, has brought about renewed debate on the challenges facing the Indian legal system.

According to the local news channel IBN Live, 86 witnesses will appear at the trial.



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