The boyfriend of a 23-year-old woman who died after a brutal gang rape on a New Delhi bus has spoken out for the first time about the savage attack that has sparked protests across the country and his own trauma over his inability to save her.
The 28-year-old man, who suffered a fractured leg and other injuries in the attack, has been deeply traumatised and is currently at his parents’ home in rural northern India where he is taking time out from his job at a software firm in New Delhi.
“What can I say? The cruelty I saw should not be seen ever. I tried to fight against the men but later I begged them again and again to leave her,” he told AFP in an interview by phone from Gorakhpur, a town in Uttar Pradesh state.
On December 16, the couple had been out to watch a movie and decided to get into a private bus when several rickshaws had refused to drive them back to the victim’s home in a New Delhi suburb.
Once in the bus, he was attacked and his girlfriend was gang-raped by six allegedly drunk men, including the driver, who also violated her with an iron bar causing immense internal damage that would lead to her death last weekend.
The horrifying crime has appalled India and brought simmering anger about widespread crime against women to the boil amid angry calls for better protection by police and changed social attitudes.
Interview Video (in Hindi Language)
The boyfriend, who asked not to be named, also recounted how passers-by had failed to come to their rescue after they were thrown out of the moving vehicle at the end of their nearly hour-long ordeal.
He was also critical of police for failing to be sensitive to his and his girlfriend’s mental condition and also raised questions about the emergency care given in the public hospital where she was admitted.
“A passer-by found us (after the attack), but he did not even give my friend his jacket. We waited for the police to come and save us,” he said.
The police have since arrested six suspects for the crime – five men and a minor believed to be aged 17 – who were charged with murder, rape and kidnapping in a city court on Thursday.
“I was not very confident about getting into the bus but my friend was running late, so we got into it. This was the biggest mistake I made and after that everything went out of control.”
The driver of the bus then made lewd remarks and his accomplices joined him “to taunt” the couple, the boyfriend said.
He said he told the driver to stop the bus, but by then his accomplices had locked the two doors.
“They hit me with a small stick and dragged my friend to a seat near the driver’s cabin.”
After that the “driver and the other men raped my friend and hit her in the worst possible ways in the most private parts of her body”.
“I cannot tell you what I feel when I think of it. I shiver in pain,” he said.
He said the police who came to their rescue took his girlfriend to a government hospital, but failed to take into account his injuries and mental trauma.
“I was treated like an object by the police…. They wanted all the help to solve the case even before getting me the right treatment. Nobody witnessed the trauma I suffered,” he said.