India investigates rape suspect's hanging death
By The Washington Post
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013, 10:00 p.m.
NEW DELHI — Responding to widespread shock and public criticism, India's government on Monday ordered an investigation into the prison death of one of the men charged with the gang rape of a young student in a moving bus last year, a horrific incident that sparked a national uproar over women's safety.
A prison guard found Ram Singh, the bus driver and alleged leader of the gang that raped and fatally wounded the young woman, hanging from the ceiling of his cell at dawn.
Although many anti-rape protesters had demanded that the accused men be sentenced to death, and Indians were expecting the harshest verdict from the court, Singh's hanging came as a jolt.
Singh's lawyer charged foul play, Singh's father said it was murder, and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde called it “a major security lapse.” Anti-rape protesters questioned the security inside India's fortress-like Tihar Jail, the nation's largest such facility.
Hours after the news of the prison death, another defendant in the case pleaded, with folded hands, with the judge in a city court: “Shoot me, but don't send me back to jail,” according to his lawyer, A.P. Singh.
What flummoxed Indians was how one of the country's most closely watched prisoners might have managed to hoodwink not only guards but also his cellmates sleeping nearby.
“Gymnastic dexterity, phantom-like stealth? An unbelievable suicide. Can the mysterious death of Delhi gang-rape prime accused be taken at face value?” asked the Times Now news channel in a prime-time debate.
Prison officials said the 33-year old Ram Singh had chatted with his three cellmates late into the night. But after they fell asleep, he hanged himself from a grill on the ceiling by tying his clothes and pieces of blanket together to make a rope, authorities said.
Singh and the other accused men had been kept under a strict suicide watch in the prison. But there was no surveillance camera inside Singh's cell, and a night patrol guard had last seen him at 2.30 a.m. during his round, a prison official told reporters.
“This suspicious custodial death or killing raises serious questions about the state of our legal system and the terrible state of our jails,” said Kavita Krishnan, a leader of the anti-rape demonstrations.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Empty, $36M facility justified, general finds
- Hezbollah commander shot down
- Police: Toronto mayor tried to buy crack tape
- ‘Dangerous’ radioactive material found in Mexico
- Egyptian satirist says show’s suspension wasn’t ‘nice’
- Dozens killed in blast in Libya
- Egyptian military granted powers in draft constitution
- Karzai says U.S. killed toddler
- Syrian refugee children work, provide for families
- Thai protesters seek to topple PM
- Robert Gumbita retains Mt. Pleasant School Board president seat