NEW DELHI - After spending her evening watching “Life of Pi” in a New Delhi mall, the 23-year-old student and her male companion were looking for a quick lift home when a bus with tinted windows pulled over.
The pair were then subjected to a catalogue of violence and sexual depravity which has evoked comparisons with Anthony Burgess’s novel “A Clockwork Orange” and brought simmering anger over the plight of women to the boil across India.
The Indian news channel NDTV greeted news of her death in the early hours of Saturday in a Singapore hospital with the banner headline “RIP: India’s Daughter", in a reflection of how her plight had moved the nation.
Ever since she was attacked on the night of December 16, the country’s leaders have lined up to offer their prayers and condemn the attack as well as paying for her treatment in Singapore.
Although the identity of the young woman has not yet been released, reports have said she was a medical student who hailed from a rural area of Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state which borders the capital New Delhi.
Her parents, who had travelled to Singapore after she was flown out by air ambulance on Wednesday night, are said to have sold their small piece of land in order to fund their daughter’s education, often limiting their own meals to little more than rotis with namak (bread with salt), according to NDTV.
“These are simple, rustic people, who have never dreamt of boarding an aircraft, much less travel to a foreign country in an air ambulance,” a source at the hospital told Singapore’s Straits Times after meeting her relatives.
Before flying out to Singapore, the woman had managed to give an interview to police at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital about the events on the night of her attack.
Police and prosecutors have outlined how six men picked the pair up outside the mall in a school bus which they had taken for a joyride after drinking heavily.
Even before they stopped outside the mall, they had allegedly picked up another passenger and then forced him to hand over the contents of his wallet.
After getting into an argument with the woman’s male companion, the group are then alleged to have lashed out at the pair before taking turns to rape the woman in the back of the bus while driving around Delhi for some 45 minutes.
They also sexually assaulted the woman with a rusting metal bar, leaving her with severe intestinal injuries, before hurling her out of the vehicle.
The bus would have had to cross numerous police checkpoints at that time of night but at no stage was the vehicle pulled over by officers.
|Protests and outrage over rape breaks out in New Delhi
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: AFP, Reuters)