Delhi political parties are finally doing something about crime after the brutal gang rape and murder of a young student in a private bus this month, and it’s only one of hundreds of attacks that are reported.
A Delhi medical student, a 23-year-old woman from India’s urban middle class, was walking home with a friend after watching a movie on December 16 before a gang attacked them.
A bus, part of a fleet of privately owned vehicles used as public transport across the city of 16 million, and known as India’s “rape capital”, was at the same time heading toward them. Earlier that day, it had ferried school students but was now empty except for five men and a teenage boy, including its crew, police said. Most of the men were from the city’s slums.
One of the six – all now charged with murder – lured the couple onto the bus, promising to drop the woman home, police have said, quoting from an initial statement that she gave from her hospital bed before her condition deteriorated rapidly.
A few minutes into the ride, her friend, 28, grew suspicious when the bus deviated from the supposed route and the men locked the door, according to her statement. They then taunted her for being out with a man late at night, prompting the friend to intervene and provoking an initial scuffle.
The attackers then beat him with a metal rod, knocking him unconscious, before turning on the woman who had tried to come to his defence. Police say the men admitted after their arrest to torturing and raping the student “to teach her a lesson”.
At one point, the bus driver gave the wheel to another of the accused and dragged the woman by the neck to the back of the vehicle and forced himself upon her. The other five then took turns raping her and also driving the bus, keeping it circling through the busy streets of Delhi, police said.
The woman was raped for nearly an hour before the men pushed a metal rod inside her, severely damaging her internal organs, and then dumped both her and her friend on the roadside, 8 km from where they had boarded it, police said.
Robbed of their clothes and belongings, they were found half naked, bleeding and unconscious later that night by a passerby, who alerted the police.
Her male friend recorded his statement to a local court days after the attack and helped police identify the six accused. He left for his hometown in Uttar Pradesh late on Saturday, missing the woman’s funeral, local media reported.
In India, murder is punishable by death by hanging, except in the case of offenders aged below 18.