Protesters from all walks of life expressed shock at the alleged suicide of Ram Singh, the main accused in the December 16 gang rape, in Tihar Jail. They also demanded a thorough probe into the incident.
Nearly three months ago, hundreds of people had walked miles across the Capital’s streets, sat under the open sky and braved extreme weather coupled with police’s teargas shells and water cannons to seek justice for the 23-year-old gang rape victim and raise the issue of women’s safety.
Activist Kavita Krishnan, who has emerged as the primary figure in the anti-rape protests, said the “suicide” was condemnable. “An investigation should be ordered to ascertain whether this is a suicide or a custodial death. The process of justice has been violated and there should be serious consequences against those responsible. If it is a suicide, it raises questions on the role of the Tihar jail authorities,” Krishnan said.
She said that the death of the main accused is likely to affect the case.
Human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover believed that a magisterial probe and post-mortem report will bring out the truth. “This incident points to a systemic failure. The criminal justice system needs a revamp. The physical and mental well-being of an undertrial is the responsibility of the authorities, who obviously were not concerned about it. I hope the probe and the post-mortem are conducted in a fair manner,” she said.
Arpita Chakroborty, a 23-year-old publishing professional who was part of the spontaneous protest gathering at India Gate, felt there should have been a tighter vigil and more precautions at the jail.
“If Tihar has a very foolproof security system, how did this suicide take place? This is not justice for the family members of the victim or of the accused. I heard a probe has been ordered, but I don’t think anything will come out of it,” Chakroborty said.