India victim's male friend recounts Delhi rape attack

media captionThe victim's friend, who witnessed the attack, speaks to Zee News

The friend of a woman who died after being raped on a bus in Delhi has given his first interview since the incident.

The man, who has not been named, told Zee News how he and the victim had boarded the bus and paid a fare, before he was beaten unconscious by men on board, who then attacked her.

He also criticised police for their slow response to the attack.

The woman, 23, died of her injuries last weekend, and five men are due to stand trial for her murder and rape.

The five could face the death penalty if they are convicted. A sixth suspect is expected to be tried in a juvenile court.

A special fast-track court set up to deal with the case of the five suspects is expected to sit on Saturday.

Meanwhile. police have opened an investigation into whether Zee News broke broadcasting laws relating to disclosure of the victim's identity.

Police 'argued'

The 28-year-old friend said he and the rape victim had boarded the bus after a trip to the cinema and after failing to flag down an auto-rickshaw.

He said the bus had tinted windows, and that he believed the group of men had laid a trap for them.

"We tried to resist them. Even my friend fought with them, she tried to save me," he said.

"She tried to dial the police control room number 100, but the accused snatched her mobile away.

"I tried to fight against the men but later I begged them again and again to leave her."

He confirmed earlier reports that the assailants had thrown them off the bus and tried to run them over.

The friend said he had tried to get help from passers-by and motorists.

"They slowed down, looked at our naked bodies and left," he said.

And he also criticised the authorities, accusing them of being slow to arrive, then arguing over jurisdiction, and eventually taking them to the wrong hospital.

"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," he said.

Delhi Police on Saturday denied its officers were late in arriving. A statement said the first vehicle had arrived within four minutes of the distress call, left the scene with the victims within another three minutes and reached Safdarjung Hospital within another 24.

Meanwhile, police say they are investigating Zee News because Indian law bans the disclosure of the identity of rape victims. The victim's friend was not named but his face was shown.

Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told AFP news agency that a case had been filed against the broadcaster.

A new fast-track court inaugurated this week to handle the case is expected to hold a hearing on Saturday.

Five suspects have been charged with murder, rape and kidnapping.

The case has caused a national outcry, and there have been frequent protests calling for greater protection for women.

Earlier, India's top security officials held a meeting to discuss possible reforms.

They have promised to recruit more women to the police force, and supply women staff to every police station in Delhi.

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