The sad tale of a young 23-year-old woman who was raped by 6 men in Delhi, and later died of internal injuries, has another part to the story. Ram Singh, the bus driver, considered to be the ‘leader’ of the group, was found hanging in his jail cell. He was on suicide watch.
Mr. Singh was found at 5:45 a.m. hanging from a bedsheet rope suspended from a ceiling grille, jail officials said. An investigation was under way, they said.
Just after the rape was discovered, uproarious protests erupted all over India. She had been sexually assaulted with an iron rod, and beaten. The other 4 men are being tried for ‘capital murder’, the fifth will be on trial in juvenile court.
Mr. Singh’s death is being labeled a suicide. “It is a major lapse in security — certainly it is not a small incident,” India’s home minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, said at a news conference in New Delhi.
His family claims suicide was not a possibility. He had an injured arm from a prior bus accident, and could not have tied the bedsheet in such a fashion. They said he was in a cell with other inmates who certainly would have seen his suicide attempt and called out.
“I suspect there is foul play,” the lawyer, V. K. Anand, said. “There were no circumstances for committing suicide. His mental state was stable, the trial was going well, he was meeting with his family. I can’t understand why he would commit suicide.”
Some family members said Mr. Singh had been abused in jail.
“It is not suicide; he has been hanged by the police,” his father, Mangilal, said in an interview. He said his son had told him on Friday that the police were beating him in jail and that he was being pressed to change his lawyer.
Singh’s father told a television station earlier in the day that some inmates raped him.
Singh’s brother is one of the other defendants on trial for the December rape and murder. The case has been put on “fast track” because of protests in Delhi, and all over India following the attack.
Ram Singh’s job was transporting children in the bus. He was the first man apprehended by the police. After his capture, he confessed, and named the other men involved. Confessions are not admissible in India’s courts
The crime occurred when the group of men, who were intoxicated, forced the young woman and her male companion onto the bus. They were attacked, their valuables stolen, and then left naked on the street.
When Singh’s family visited him in jail, they said he was calm, and relaxed about the trial. Another brother, who wished to remain anonymous, said he talked to him on the phone, and he did not talk about, or reveal any indications, that he was planning suicide.
Columnist-The Guardian Express