India Rape Victim's Friend: She Was Closest to My Heart

Opens up about his complex relationship with victim

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 30, 2013 8:39 AM CST

(Newser) – The 28-year-old Indian man whose friend died in a vicious gang rape has given an exclusive interview to the Wall Street Journal, and the details are heart-wrenching:

  • Their relationship: They were just very close friends, but not because there wasn't romantic interest. They came from two different castes: He had a wealthy Brahmin background, she came from a working-class family. Marriage was unlikely, but the two spent a lot of time together, often visiting holy sites. "She was the closest person to my heart," he says.

  • The day of the attack: The pair went to see Life of Pi, then spent time snapping photos of a fountain. He wanted to stay longer, but in her rush to get home, the two boarded a bus. There were several other men on board, but they all appeared to be passengers ... at least for five minutes, until three of them asked the couple why they were out together at night. That's when trouble began.
  • The attack: The male friend was beaten on the head and legs with a metal rod, while the woman was dragged to the back of the bus. He could hear her calling out for help as she was raped and beaten, but he was held down by one or more of the attackers during the ordeal. "I go to that moment again and again," he says. "Just an hour before, everything was fine, and all of a sudden, everything had gone horribly wrong." Eventually, he says, he heard the words, "She's dead, she's dead."
  • Life as it is: When he saw her in the hospital before she died, he apologized for being unable to help, and she said they should have stayed at the fountain longer, because they may have avoided the attack. She tried to hug him, but was too restricted by medical equipment. Now, the male friend walks with a cane, and says he is "surrounded by the pictures in my mind of the incident of that night in the bus."
  • What might have been: "I would have been with her all my life," he says. "Even if that meant taking the extreme step of going against the wishes of my family."

A Delhi police van, believed to be carrying the accused in the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman, enters a district court in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)
Indian students participate in a candlelight vigil to mark a month since the gang rape of a 23-year-old student in a bus, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
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