The waves of protests continues across India after the attack on December 16, 2012 when a 23-year-old woman was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted with an iron bar, leaving her with terrible intestinal injuries to her death, subsequently on Dec. 29. Thousands took part in candlelit vigils that led appeals for calm to prevent a repeat of the sometimes violent protests. New Delhi has long been known as the “rape capital of India” and the recent New Delhi gang rape attack story could happen anywhere to anyone.
On Monday, five men who allegedly raped and killed the woman, whose name is refrained from publishing in keeping with Indian laws governing the identification of rape victims, appeared before a New Delhi court for the first time, their faces covered in gray woolen caps. All five face charges of kidnapping, rape and murder, among other crimes. They face the death sentence if found guilty. A sixth alleged assailant, a juvenile, faces proceedings before a juvenile court. A lawyer for the accused couldn’t be reached, according to The Wall Street Journal article.
The story behind the New Delhi attack
We are publishing the story behind the New Delhi attack to serve as an eye-opener to everyone who reads this. This sickening human rights violation could happen anywhere to anyone you loved the most.
“On Dec. 16, the day of the attack, her family gathered at their home. The young woman and her mother cooked lunch—fritters in yogurt, beans, and puffy bread called puri. The siblings teased each other about who would steal a bite of their father’s food.
After lunch, their father went to work on the 2 p.m. shift at the airport, one of her brothers recalled. And his sister went to see her friend at the mall, the meeting the two had earlier arranged on the phone. The two weren’t dating, both he and the family said, but had been friends for years.
At the mall, her friend recalled noticing that she had put streaks in her hair—white, gold and red. She asked him what he thought. He says he wasn’t really a fan of the look, but answered “It’s OK,” so as not to hurt her feelings. He also remarked that she seemed too thin.
“A lot of people struggle to get this physique,” she responded.
After “Life of Pi” ended—she loved the movie, her friend said—they took a motorized rickshaw, an inexpensive, three-wheeled taxi, to Munirka on Delhi’s main southern highway, a convenient point to board a bus toward her home.
The same evening, about five miles away in a slum of about 300 dwellings known as Ravi Dass camp, two brothers, Ram and Mukesh Singh, were throwing a small party with chicken and alcohol, according to police. Ram was the driver of a private bus.
They were joined that evening by Vinay Sharma, a young man who earned $40 a month as a helper at a local gym, police said. Earlier he had been watching television at home, according to his mother, Champa Devi, when a friend and local fruit-seller, Pawan Gupta, stopped by. Eventually, according to police, the two men joined the Singh brothers, who lived down a narrow lane nearby.
The group, which included one other man and a juvenile, decided to take what police have described as a “joy ride” on the bus that Ram Singh drove.
Around 9:15 p.m., police said, the bus pulled into the stop where the young woman and her friend were looking for a ride. The men aboard the bus offered them a lift to Dwarka, near the young woman’s home, according to police.
Four of the alleged assailants acted like regular passengers, according to the young man who boarded. One of them collected 20 cents for each ticket and the other drove.
The accused began taunting the woman with lewd comments, according to her friend, which led to a brawl. The young woman’s friend said that some of the men knocked him unconscious with an iron bar.
At the back of the bus, police said, the young woman was raped as the vehicle was driven around, passing Vasant Vihar, an upscale neighborhood which is home to embassies and expatriates. After about 40 minutes, according to police, the bus stopped near a strip of budget neon-lit hotels with names like Star, Venus and Highway Crown, that cater to travelers near the airport.
There, the men on the bus dumped the two friends, naked, by the side of the road in a dusty strip of dried grass, according to police and the young man. As the woman lay barely conscious, her friend, who was bleeding from a cut to the head but could now stand, waved his arms and shouted for help at passing cars. For more than 20 minutes, he said, no one stopped.
Several people who work in the area said that two employees of DSC Ltd., the company that built the highway and now runs it, were the first to attend to the two victims, around 10 p.m. The company declined to comment. One of the DSC employees put in a call to the police, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Moments later, a manager from one of the nearby hotels, a burly 28-year-old, got on his motorbike to head home. He passed the scene without stopping—but then turned back, struck by the image of blood streaming down the man’s face.
He offered to get a sheet and a bottle of water from his hotel to cover them as they waited for the police, he said in an interview. One of the DSC employees gave a sweater to the young woman and a shirt to her friend. About 45 minutes after the two were dumped, the police arrived.
Around the same time as the young woman was being taken by police to Safdarjung Hospital, about eight miles away, her family was starting to grow concerned. Usually, her brother said, she returned home by 8:30 p.m. “We were really worried, but didn’t have any other option than waiting,” he said. He dialed the pair’s mobile phones without success.
Around 11:15 p.m., the police phoned and said the young woman had been in an accident. Her father rushed to the hospital with a neighbor on a motorbike. “It was a sinking feeling,” her brother said. “We feared for the worst.” – Preetika Rana, Amol Sharma and Aditi Malhotra of The Wall Street Journal in New Delhi contributed to this article.
The young woman, the child of an airport laborer who earns 7,000 rupees a month (about $130), was determined, her friends and family said, to become the first from her family, which hails from a caste of agricultural workers, to have a professional career. She was on the cusp of achieving it. She had enrolled in a years-long physiotherapy course in a city in the foothills of the Himalayas. To afford it, she worked nights at an outsourcing firm, helping Canadians with their mortgage issues, family members and her friend said.
As she amassed some money of her own, she enjoyed figuring out how to spend it. Lately, she had her eye on a Samsung smartphone. One day she hoped to buy an Audi. “I want to build a big house, buy a car, go abroad and will work there,” her friend, the software engineer, recalled her saying. – by Krishna Pokharel, Saurabh Chaturvedi, Vibhuti Agarwal and Tripti Lahiri | The Wall Street Journal
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