Fresh anger as boyfriend of India gang-rape victim recounts ordeal

Victim's boyfriend says passers-by ignored them as they lay naked, and police were incompetent

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 January, 2013, 1:58pm


Claims of police incompetence and public apathy stirred fresh outrage yesterday in the case of a New Delhi gang-rape victim after her boyfriend recounted witnessing the horrific crime for the first time.

The man was also badly injured as he tried to prevent the assault on a moving bus on December 16, which has stirred violent protests and a bout of soul-searching about the treatment of women and rising sex crime in India.

The boyfriend said passers-by ignored the naked and bloodied couple for 30 minutes after they were thrown out of the bus and police then wasted more time arguing over who had jurisdiction. "A passer-by found us [after the attack], but he did not even give my friend his jacket," he said.

The claims came as a trial of five suspects started in a court in south Delhi, where the accused have been ordered to appear together for the first time tomorrow. In addition to rape, kidnap and robbery, they face a murder charge and possibly the death penalty after the 23-year-old victim died last weekend from her injuries, including internal wounds caused by an iron bar.

"The cruelty I saw should not be seen ever," the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said.

Speaking to the Hindi-language Zee News channel, he said it took 90 minutes for the injured pair to reach hospital because passers-by ignored their pleas for help, and police were late to arrive and then needlessly delayed.

"They could have taken us to hospital, given us clothes in that crucial one-and-a-half hours. For a dying person, every minute is important," he told the channel.

Facing angry criticism on the streets, where protests have raged over the past three weeks against the lack of safety in the Indian capital, the police issued a hasty rebuttal.

A senior officer from the area where they were found, Vivek Gogia, said computer logs showed the police were on the scene six minutes after receiving a distress call and the couple were in hospital 28 minutes later. Separately, the police filed a case against Zee News because the interview - which showed the boyfriend's face unobscured - had illegally disclosed the identity of a rape victim.

The revelation that bystanders failed to help the injured couple angered some Delhi residents. "As people we should try and improve ourselves because the boy talked about how the people who were passing by did not try to help them," said Abhinav Agarwal, a 31-year-old manager at a private company.