Rape victim's friend recounts ordeal


Yesterday, the companion of a 23-year-old university student who was gang-raped last month on a moving bus, and died subsequently, said in his first public comments that passersby left her lying unclothed and bleeding in the street for almost an hour after they were both thrown off the bus.

They lay in the street for 45 minutes before a police van arrived and officers then spent a long time arguing about where to take them, the man told the Zee News television network.

“We kept shouting at the police, ‘please give us some clothes’ but they were busy deciding which police station our case should be registered at,” he said. Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said GPS records show the first police van reached the scene four minutes after it was called and took the man and the woman to hospital within 24 minutes.

The gang rape prompted street protests across India leading to a call from the interior minister for a countrywide crackdown on crimes against women. Sushil Kumar Shinde said the country needed to find more effective ways to enforce the law to protect women.

Authorities in New Delhi, where the rape by six men took place on December 16th, are set to recruit women staff in every police station, institute a 24-hour helpline for women and increase street patrolling.

The government has also set up a committee, headed by a retired supreme court judge, to recommend changes to the anti-rape law by the end of the month.

Additionally the first of five fast-track courts have been set up to try rape and sexual harassment cases. – (Additional reporting Reuters)