A mother's instinct knew something was wrong. But it could not avert the gangrape of her 22-year-old daughter. The photojournalist who got gangraped by five men in the heart of Mumbai on Thursday, received two phone calls from her mother.
But with a broken beer bottle held to her neck, she was forced to talk calmly and pretend nothing was wrong.
In her statement to the police, the woman said as the five accused had surrounded her, her colleague tied up at the back, her mobile phone started ringing.
"The men asked me to answer. They held a broken beer bottle and said they would kill me if I told my mother anything," she said in the statement.
But something in her manner made her mother suspect that all was not well. She called again.
"The men got edgy. They said I must do better this time if I wanted to live," she said.
"She must have sounded composed as her mother did not call again," said a police officer.
The two journalists had gone to a mill compound in Worli around 5.30 pm on an assignment. "Around 6.15 pm, when we were on our way back, we met two men. Claiming to be railway officials, they asked us to come and meet a senior official," the officer said, quoting the complaint.
"We went and met a third man, a slightly plump person. He, too, said we should not have come to the compound as we did not have permission and called up two others for 'further inquiry'. Soon, five men had gathered. I called up my boss but there was no answer."
The men said her colleague was involved in a case of rape and murder which took place in the same compound, and separated them on pretext of a separate inquiry.
"Two of the five men took her to a separate structure in the compound, threatened her with a broken beer bottle, and raped her. Three others, meanwhile, tied up her colleague with belts and beat him up mercilessly," the officer said. "Eventually, all five raped the woman."
The accused then threatened the woman with dire consequences if she told her colleague that she had been raped.
"They escorted us out of the compound and pointed the route to the Mahalaxmi railway station. Before going away, they threatened me with dire consequences if I failed to keep my mouth shut. Then, finally, I called up my office and informed them about the incident," the woman said in her statement.
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