The suffering of a university student and her male friend who were brutally attacked aboard a bus in New Delhi did not end after the woman was gangraped and both were savagely beaten for 2 1/2 hours. Dumped naked on a roadside, the pair encountered shocking apathy as passersby offered only cursory looks and police debated jurisdiction for 30 minutes before taking them to a hospital, where the man received no treatment as he sat without clothes on the floor, the friend recounted in a television interview.
The interview on Friday marked the first time the man, who has not been named, has spoken publicly about the Dec. 16 attack in New Delhi.
The 23-year-old woman died last weekend from massive internal injuries suffered during the attack. Authorities charged five men with her murder and rape and were holding a sixth suspect believed to be a juvenile. A hearing in the case was scheduled for Saturday.
On the night of the attack, the woman and her companion had just finished watching the movie Life of Pi at an upscale mall and were looking for a ride home. An autorickshaw driver declined to take them, so they boarded the private bus with the six assailants inside, the companion told the Zee News.
Zee News also declined to give his name, although it did show his face during the interview. The man has a broken leg and was sitting in a wheelchair during the interview.
The man went on to tell Zee News that after the pair were on the bus for a while, the men started harassing and attacking them.
“I gave a tough fight to three of them. I punched them hard. But then two others hit me with an iron rod,” he said. The woman tried to call the police using her mobile phone, but the men snatched it away from her, he said. They then took her to the rear seats of the bus and raped her.
“The attack was so brutal I can’t even tell you... even animals don’t behave like that,” the man said.
Afterward, he overheard some of the attackers saying the woman was dead, he said.
The men then dumped their bleeding and naked bodies under a flyover. The woman’s companion waved to passersby on bikes, in autorickshaws and in cars for help, but no one stopped. “They slowed down, looked at our naked bodies and left,” he said.
“My friend was grievously injured and bleeding profusely,” he said. “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.”
After about 20 minutes, three police vans arrived, but the officers argued over who had jurisdiction over the crime as the man pleaded for clothes and an ambulance, he said.
Finally, he said, they were taken to a 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.
The man said he was given no medical care. He then spent four days at the police station helping police investigate the crime. He said he visited his friend in the hospital, told her the attackers were arrested and promised to fight for her.
The man said he gave the TV interview because he hopes it will encourage rape victims to come forward and speak about their ordeals without shame.
“She has awakened us all by her courage,” he said of his friend, who died at a Singapore hospital after being flown there for treatment. “People should move ahead in the struggle to prevent a similar crime happening again as a tribute to her.”