Wish I could have saved her, says gang-rape victim's friend

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) Breaking his silence for the first time since the gang-rape, the victim's friend said he wished he could have saved the 23-year-old physiotherapist trainee on Dec 16.

"I wish I could have saved her," the friend, who was with the young woman on the fateful night of Dec 16, told Zee News channel.

The channel also identified him as Avaindra Pratap Pandey.

The 28-year-old, who is a software engineer, said that no one came forward to help them as they were dumped by the roadside semi-clad and bloodied.

"We were lying in the cold night for 20 minutes. We had no clothes. Many cars and auto-rickshaws came and passed by us but no one stopped to offer us help even though I was crying for help," he said.

"Three PCR (Police Control Room vans) came and left. They could not decide the jurisdiction of station area under which the case falls," he said.

"Later, another PCR van came for us. 20 people were standing at that time but no one helped me to take her (his friend) on the van's seat. It might be that they were thinking their hands would get dirtied...." he said.

"In the hospital, no one even thought of giving us a quilt. Hospital staff did not give me curtains so that I could cover myself with," he said.

Recounting the events of that fateful night, he said when they climbed into the bus, "there were 5-6 people on it and they told us that they are also passengers."

He said that windowpanes of the bus were tinted and lights inside it were off. As they tried to call for help, the men in the bus snatched away their phones.

"When we tried to call police, they snatched away our phones," he said.

He questioned the need for setting up a fast-track court for the case.

"What is the need for setting up a fast track court for the case? Something should be done so that this is never repeated," he added.

The young woman was tortured and gang-raped by six men in the moving bus on Dec 16. She was stripped, robbed and then thrown off the bus by the roadside along with her friend on the cold December night.

She was taken to a Singapore hospital where she died Dec 29. She was quietly cremated on Dec 30. All the six accused, including a juvenile, are now in custody.

--Indo-Asian New Service

aks-gsh/vd/vt

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