Suspects in gang-rape case charged with murder: Police
NEW DELHI - The Delhi police have brought murder charges against the six men accused of the brutal gang rape of the 23-year-old student who passed away in a Singapore hospital.
“They have been charged (with murder),” said Rajan Bhagat, a spokesman for New Delhi police.
The six men come from poor background, with four of them living in a slum colony in southern Delhi.
Ram Singh, a 33-year-old bus driver who was a school dropout and nicknamed "Mental" by friends because of his bad temper, is the main accused in the case, with the police saying he was the leader of the group.
On the night of Dec 16, Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh 26, and four others - vegetable vendor Pawan Gupta, 19, gym instructor Vinay Sharma, 20, bus cleaner Akshay Thakur, 28, and a 17-year-old who worked as a helper on long-distance buses - had been drinking and decided to take the bus for a joyride. The bus had tinted windows and curtains.
They first robbed a man of his money and then picked up the student and her male friend, the police said.
They took turns to rape the girl and beat up her male companion.
The police said to avoid detection, they stripped the girl and her friend of their clothes before dumping them on the side of a road on a cold winter night.
After the crime, Ram Singh, his brother, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta went back to their homes in the south Delhi slum and were arrested 48 hours after the crime. The other two men fled the city and were captured by the police from the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Hari Ram Sharma, the father of Vinay Sharma, told television channels that his son should be punished if he was guilty. "If my son has done it, the harshest of punishment should be given to him, otherwise he should be let off," he said.
The maximum punishment for murder is the death penalty.
The death of the woman on Saturday sparked angry reactions in India. Protestors held silent rallies and protests across the country to honour her.
In central Delhi, protestors sat in silent protest in Jantar Mantar, the designated protest site. Some protestors also covered their mouth with black cloth.
In Kolkata, residents marched silently through the city centre holding placards, while in Bangalor, students sat in Freedom Park in the central business district holding placards of support for the victim and demanding justice.