Speaking to Zee News Editor Sudhir Chaudhary, the victim’s friend explained in detail what exactly happened on that fateful night of December 16.
He said that no one came to their help after they were thrown off the bus by the six accused. Even after the police arrived, it took the cops over two hours to take them to hospital.
The victim’s friend said that since December 16, protests have been happening and people are on the streets. “Many things have come out in the media, but people have been interpreting it differently. I want to tell them what we faced that night. I want to tell what I faced, what my friend faced,” he told Zee News, expressing hope that people could take a lesson and save others’ lives in future.
He said the six accused had lured them into boarding the bus on the night of December 16.
“The occupants of the bus, which had tinted windows and curtains, had laid a trap for us. They were probably involved in crimes before also. They beat us up, hit us with an iron rod, snatched our clothes and belongings and threw us off the bus on a deserted stretch.
“The bus occupants had everything planned. Apart from the driver and helper, others behaved like they were passengers. We even paid Rs 20 as fare. Then they started teasing my friend and the same led to a brawl. I beat three of them up but then the rest of them brought an iron rod and hit me. Before I fell unconscious, they took my friend away.
“From where we boarded the bus, they moved around for nearly two and a half hours. We were shouting, trying to make people hear us. But they switched the lights of the bus off. We tried to resist them. Even my friend fought with them, she tried to save me. She tried to dial the police control room number 100, but the accused snatched her mobile away,” he said.
“Before throwing us off the bus, they snatched our mobiles and tore off our clothes in order to destroy any evidence of the crime,” he added.
“After throwing us off the bus, they tried to mow us down but I saved my friend by pulling her away in the nick of time. We were without clothes. We tried to stop passers by. Several auto rickshaws, cars and bikes slowed down but no one stopped for about 25 minutes. Then, someone on patrolling, stopped and called the police,” he told Zee News.
The victim’s friend rued the fact that three PCR vans arrived at the scene after about 45 minutes, but wasted time in deciding under which police station’s jurisdiction the case fell.
He said nobody, including the police, gave them clothes or called an ambulance. “They were just watching us,” he said, adding that after repeated requests, someone gave him a part of a bed sheet to cover his friend.
“My friend was bleeding profusely. But instead of taking us to a nearby hospital, they (police) took us to a hospital that was far away.”
The victim’s friend said that he carried his badly injured friend to the PCR van on his own as the policemen didn’t help them because the girl was bleeding profusely.
“Nobody from the public helped us. People were probably afraid that if they helped us, they would become witnesses to the crime and would be asked to come to police stations and courts,” he told the channel.
“Even at the hospital, we were made to wait and I had to literally beg for clothes. I borrowed a stranger’s mobile and called my relatives, but just told them that I had met with an accident. My treatment started only after my relatives came,” he said.
“I was hit on the head. I was not able to walk. I was not able to move my hands for two weeks,” he said, detailing the injuries he suffered on that horrific night.
“My family wanted to take me to our native place but I decided to stay in Delhi in order to help the police. It was only after the doctors’ advice that I went back to my home and started private treatment there.”
“When I had met my friend in the hospital, she was smiling. She was able to write and was positive. I never felt that she did not want to live,” he said.
“She had told me that if I wasn’t there, she would not have filed the complaint. I had decided that I would ensure that the culprits are punished,” the victim’s friend said.
He said that his friend was also worried about the cost of the treatment. “I was asked to be with her to give her strength.”
“When she gave the first statement to the lady SDM, only then I came to know what had happened with her. I couldn’t believe what they did to her. Even when animals hunt, they don’t mete out such brutality to their prey.
“She faced all of this and told the magistrate that the accused should not be hanged but burnt to death.”
“The first statement she gave to the SDM was correct. She had given that statement with a lot of effort. She was coughing and bleeding while giving the statement. There was no pressure or interference at all. But when the SDM said that she had spoken under pressure, all her efforts went in vain. The lady SDM was wrong when she said that the statement was made under pressure,” the victim’s friend told Zee News.
When asked what suggestions he would like to give in order to ensure that such incidents don’t recur, the victim’s friend said “the police should always try to ensure that the victims are taken to the hospital as soon as possible and not look for government hospitals. Also, witnesses should not be harassed so that they come to the court to testify.”
He said that one cannot change mindsets by lighting candles. "You have to help people on the road when they need help,” he added.
“Protests and change should not only be for her but for the coming generations as well.”
The victim’s friend said that he wanted the Justice Verma committee, set up by the government, to suggest measures to improve women’s security, to make the law easier for complainants.
“We have a lot of laws, but the public is afraid of going to police as they wonder whether the police will register an FIR or not. You are trying to start fast-track courts for one issue, but why shouldn’t every case be fast tracked,” he asked.
He disclosed that “no one from the government has contacted me so far to ask about my treatment. I have been paying for my own treatment so far.”
He said if his friend was “treated in a better hospital, she would have probably been alive today.” It may be noted that the gang-rape victim was first treated at the Safdarjung Hospital before being shifted to a hospital in Singapore.
He went on to say that there were a few police officials who wanted him to say that the police were doing a good job in the case.
“Why did they want to take credit for doing their duty? If everyone does their work well, nothing more needs to be said in the matter,” he said.
"We have a long battle to fight," he said further, adding, “If I didn't have lawyers in my family, I would not have been able to fight this.”
The victim’s friend also told Zee News, "I was in the police station for four days rather than being in a hospital where I would be treated. I told my friends that I had met with an accident."
"The internal judgement of the Delhi Police should prompt them to assess for themselves if they have done a good job or not," he added.
"If you can help someone, help them. If a single person had helped me that night, things would have been different. There is no need to close Metro stations and stop the public from expressing themselves. People should be able to have faith in the system," he went on to say.
"I never had thoughts of leaving her and running away. Even an animal would not do that. I have no regrets. But I wish I could have done something to help her. I do think sometimes about why I didn't get an auto, why did I take that bus."