That night three weeks ago on a Delhi bus, they acted in a frenzy. Caught, they walled themselves up into silence. Now, they are frightened, very frightened.
Five of the six men accused of raping a 23-year-old girl on December 16 and inflicting injuries that led to her death are due to make their first appearance in the fast-track court on Monday.
Sources said the men — Ram Singh, Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay — are stunned by the speed at which events have moved and have been hit by the realisation that their fate could soon be sealed.
More immediately, the men fear attack by the public on their way to court.
“We have written to the 3rd Battalion of the Delhi Police, responsible for providing security to undertrial prisoners when they commute to and from courts for production, to ensure that they are taken out under a complete security blanket and without any chance of being potentially attacked,” said a jail official.
Several other inmates at Delhi’s Tihar Jail, where the men are kept, have also tried to assault them, but have been kept at bay by jail staff.
Staff have been taking ‘special care’ to ensure that none of them are subjected to 'any kind of misdemeanour by co-inmates after dark’ and are keeping them in self-contained special cells at night, said the official.
On Wednesday afternoon, sources said that Ram Singh, the main accused in the case, had his meal snatched by other inmates. It was replaced when he complained to the authorities.
The sixth person accused in the case is being kept in a facility for juveniles as he is thought to be under 18. He will appear before a separate court on Monday.