Gang-rape suspect may be guilty, says his mother
THE mother of the alleged ringleader of the notorious Delhi gang rape has admitted he may have been guilty, saying he told her he had tried to hide evidence of the attack.
Ram Singh, who was found hanged in Delhi's Tihar Jail where he and his brother, Mukesh, were in custody, was on the bus where a 23-year-old student was gang raped and mutilated. She later died.
Singh's mother, Kalyani Devi, and her husband, Mangelal Singh, believe he was murdered after weeks of being raped and tortured by police and prison guards.
In an interview, Mrs Devi said her late son had confessed to being on the bus at the time of the gang rape and to destroying the evidence the following day.
She spoke of her anguish at the thought of him being guilty of one of the most notorious crimes in India's recent history.
"As a mother, I can't believe it, but it could be true," she said. "It's the worst thing a mother could ever imagine of her children."
Five adults and a 17-year-old were charged with the gang rape and murder, which prompted protests and dem-ands that the government take action to halt a big increase in sexual assaults on women.
Of the accused men, Mrs Devi's two sons became the focus of attention.
She first learnt of the gang rape when police arrived at the family's remote ancestral vill-age in Rajasthan and arrested Mukesh, who denied they were involved in the assault.
He had driven the bus and was screened off from the passenger section where it happened.
His brother, the usual driver, was drunk and barely conscious, he told them.
"Mukesh got a call to say Ram Singh had been in a fight, but when he got there they were all drunk and they offered Mukesh a drink," said Mrs Devi.
"Then this incident had happened. Mukesh was told to drive the bus. He said Ram Singh was out of his senses."
When she visited Ram in jail, he confessed he had been on the bus and had tried to wash away the evidence.
"He was aware of what had happened, and what we fear, he tried to wash the bus," she said.
"He was on the bus, no doubt about that, but he was not in a condition to do anything. He was out of his senses."
Mrs Devi said the family has been vilified and their one room hut in a slum colony was the target of a bomb attack.
When asked what she would say to the mother of the gang-rape victim, Mrs Devi wrapped her face in her shawl and wailed.
Ram had been a child labourer, working in the fields from the age of seven, she said. He occasionally got drunk and had fights, she said.
She was speaking a few days after the Indian parliament passed a law to impose tougher sentences, including the death penalty, for gang rapes and sexual assaults where the victim dies or is left in a vegetative state. (© Daily Telegraph, London)