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Man whose friend was viciously gang-raped on Delhi bus breaks his silence in TV interview
Publication Date : 06-01-2013
The man who was with a 23-year-old student who was viciously gang-raped on a bus has revealed that they were left bleeding and naked on a street, while people walked by and policemen argued over who would take them to hospital.
"We were without clothes. We tried to stop passers-by. Several auto rickshaws, cars and bikes slowed down but none stopped for about 25 minutes," he told Zee News television last Friday, in his first interview since the attack that has spawned protests throughout the country.
Six attackers assaulted him and the woman for more than two hours on the night of December 16 after luring them onto an illegal bus. The man said that even when someone finally called the police, the officers made him pick up his limp friend and put her in the police van.
"I said at least give us clothes but they wanted to decide which police station had jurisdiction," said the 28-year-old man, whose name was not revealed. "Twenty people were standing around and they were watching the commotion. They were just watching us."
Only after repeated requests did someone give him a part of a bed sheet to cover his friend, he said.
"My friend was bleeding profusely; I was more concerned about her. But instead of taking us to a nearby hospital, they (the police) took us to a hospital (Safdarjung) that was far away."
Even there, he said, "no one even brought us a blanket".
The government later flew the woman to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, where she died on December 29.
The man decided to break his silence on the Hindi TV news channel. A well-spoken software engineer, his right leg was still in a cast and the horror of the attack was still apparent on his face.
Emphasising that precious minutes were lost as he and his friend were ignored on the road despite their obvious injuries, he said: "We are lighting candles to support someone. I feel that we should also help someone who is lying on the roads."
He wished that someone had come to their aid quickly, noting: "Every minute was important."
The Delhi police, who have been under fire for failing to make the city safe for women, came in for even more criticism after the interview.
People from various walks of life went on the show to demand answers from the police.
Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat attempted to defuse some of the anger, claiming that records showed police vans reached the scene within four minutes.
"It left the spot within three minutes and reached Safdarjung within 24 minutes," he said.
In the emotional interview, the man said that he kept reliving the horrific night. They were lured into the bus with tinted windows and curtains by some of the accused men, he said.
"The bus occupants had everything planned. Apart from the driver and the helper, others behaved like they were passengers. We even paid 20 rupees as fare," he said.
"They then started teasing my friend and it led to a brawl. I beat three of them up but then the rest of them brought an iron rod and hit me."
He said his friend, now known as "Braveheart" by the Indian media, tried to intercede.
"She was trying to save me. She tried to call 100 for police but they snatched her mobile... We were screaming and trying to get our voice out but they switched off the light," he said.
That was when they took his friend away. "For 21/2 hours they drove around over flyovers and all over Delhi."
He said he was barely conscious after being beaten on the head and all over his body with a rod.
"After throwing us off the bus, they tried to mow us down but I saved my friend by pulling her away in the nick of time," he said.
He learnt the stomach-churning details of what the thugs did to his friend only six days later at the hospital when, in his presence, she gave a statement to the magistrate.
Although she was coughing and vomiting, she wanted to record every detail of the rape, against the advice of the doctors, because she wanted justice, he said.
The man said she wanted her attackers not to be hanged but to "be burned alive".
"I couldn't believe what they did to her," he told Zee News. "Even when animals hunt, they don't mete out such brutality to their prey."
He said that in the aftermath of the incident, Indian society too needed to take a close look at itself.
"I think there is need for change in everything."