The man who was beaten alongside the New Delhi gang rape victim said the two lay naked and bleeding while people idly passed by and police debated which police station was responsible, with more than two hours elapsing before they arrived at a hospital.
The man described the attack and its aftermath for the first time in an interview broadcast Friday on Zee News, an Indian television channel. His account gives a troubling picture of an indifferent reaction to a violent crime that has since galvanized public outrage.
After the two were thrown off the bus where the young woman was raped and beaten with an iron rod, then nearly run over by their attackers, they tried in vain to stop passersby, he said. Rickshaws, bikes and cars slowed -- but it was nearly a half-hour before someone stopped.
Three police vans arrived after an additional 45 minutes, he told the television station, only to waste time debating which police station had jurisdiction over the case. Someone offered them a bed sheet to cover his injured friend after repeated requests, he said.
The man said he finally carried his bleeding friend to the police van on his own since “the policemen didn’t help us … they were probably worried about their clothes.” Instead of being taken to a nearby hospital, police went to one that was farther away, the man told the channel.
“Even at the hospital, we were made to wait and I had to literally beg for clothes,” he said.
The young woman later died of severe internal injuries. Indian authorities are seeking the death penalty against five men accused of the assault; a sixth defendant, a juvenile, faces up to three years in jail.
The attack has spurred national outrage and calls for reform in India, where rights groups say victims are subjected to "virginity tests" and other degrading treatment when they report rapes to the police.
After the interview was aired, New Delhi police said they would sue Zee News under an Indian criminal code that centers on revealing the identities of crime victims, the Press Trust of India reported.
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