Delhi authorities charge five men over gang-rape of student in India

Father of victim calls for hanging of 17-year-old suspect as details emerge of brutal attack

The Delhi authorities yesterday charged five men with murdering the 23-year-old physiotherapy student who died after being gang-raped on a bus in the city earlier this month.

The men are expected to appear in a newly constituted “fast track” court where they could face the death penalty. Bone tests are being carried out on a sixth alleged attacker, who will be tried separately in a juvenile court if the results support the claim that he is 17.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, details within the charge sheet describe the youngest attacker as the most brutal, sexually assaulting her twice before further mutilating her unconscious body and suggesting she should then be thrown naked from the moving vehicle.

The five charged today were named as bus driver Ram Singh, 33; his brother and assistant Mukesh Singh, 26; fruit vendor Pavan Gupta, 19; bus washer Akshay Singh, 24; and fitness trainer Vinay Sharma, 20. The next hearing in the case is set to take place on Saturday.

The government will appoint defence lawyers on the suspects’ behalf after all 2,500 advocates attached to Delhi’s district court refused to represent them. “We have decided that no lawyer will stand up to defend them. It would be immoral to defend the case,” said Sanjay Kumar, a lawyer and member of the Saket District Bar Council. Police said that they did not bring the men to court for the preliminary hearing yesterday – usually a legal obligation in India – amid fears over their safety. Public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan has requested that the trial take place behind closed doors.

After police had formally presented their 1,000-page charge sheet to the court, Mr Mohan said that DNA evidence tied all six men to the crime. But despite pressure to name the victim, Mr Mohan asked that her identity remain protected.

Rape victims are automatically granted anonymity under Indian law, but her relatives consented on Wednesday to her identity being revealed. India’s junior education minister, Shashi Tharoor, had suggested that a new and far more stringent rape law under consideration should be named after her.

Although rapes are numbingly common in India, the national outpouring of grief and rage over the death of the student – who was raped and beaten for an hour before being thrown out of the still-moving bus – has shaken the authorities out of their habitually torpid response to such crimes.

Angry protests have been held in several cities including Delhi, where demonstrators clashed with police and demanded that the rapists be hanged. The victim’s father backed the call, telling India’s Economic Times newspaper from his home in Uttar Pradesh: “The juvenile should be punished first ... he was the one who lured my daughter into the bus and tortured her most mercilessly.

“Imagine his brutality when he is 17 ... what a demon he would become once he is older? The government should reduce the juvenile age to 12 or 15 years. All the six accused should never be allowed to step out of the jail ... they must be hanged. They are a threat to every woman on the street.”

Responding to the outpouring of rage over the case, officials in the capital have promised to offer more protection to the city’s women, with night patrols by police, checks on bus drivers and their assistants, and a ban on buses like the one in which the student was attacked which have curtains or tinted windows.

The reaction to such measures is likely to be cynical, however: an undercover investigation by the Delhi news weekly Tehelka last year revealed that some senior police officers are openly scornful about rape allegations.

A sub-inspector at one police station was recorded as saying, “If girls don’t stay within their boundaries, if they don’t wear appropriate clothes, then naturally there is attraction [which] makes men aggressive, prompting men to just do it.”

In an indication of the scale of national anger over the Delhi case, nearly 1,800km away on the Bhutan border a group of women were filmed stripping and slapping Bikram Singh Brahma, a Congress party politician whom they claimed had raped a married woman in the village. Assam’s chief minister Tarun Gogoi said: “I can assure you that no-one, whether from the Congress Party or anywhere else, would be spared.” He was later detained by police but denies the accusations against him.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?