My son may have been guilty, admits mother of dead New Delhi ‘rapist’

DEAN NELSON
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Mock hangmen’s nooses hang during a protest demanding the death penalty for five men and one minor accused of the fatal gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi, India in December 20112 in this file photo taken in New Delhi Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Altaf Qadri/AP)

The mother of the alleged ringleader of the notorious Delhi gang-rape has admitted he may have been guilty, saying that 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 with The Daily Telegraph, 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. We always want them to prosper and grow in a positive way.

“It’s shocking for us that they got involved in this. I do not know what they did, but we are in a terrible state because of the allegations.”

Five adults and a 17-year-old juvenile were charged with the gang rape and murder, which prompted protests throughout India and demands that the police and government take action to halt a significant increase in sexual assaults on women.

Of the accused men, 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 village 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. “He [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. Then this incident had happened. Mukesh was told to drive the bus. [He said that] Ram Singh was drunk and out of his senses,” Devi said.

When she visited Ram in jail, he confessed that he had been on the bus and had tried to wash away the evidence.

“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. He was aware of what had happened, and what we fear, he tried to wash the bus,” she said.

The incident has destroyed their lives, Devo added. She and her husband believe that Ram was murdered in jail and that his young son was expelled from school to protect its image.

They claim that the family has been vilified and that their one room hut in a slum colony was the target of a bomb attack.

Ram had been a child-labourer, working in the fields from the age of seven, she said. He had continued working as a bus driver, despite having the full use of only one arm. He occasionally got drunk and had fights, she said.

When asked what she would say to the mother of the gang-rape victim, Mrs Devi wrapped her face in her shawl and wailed.

“It’s like we have similar emotions for our children — nothing different. I can understand what has happened to her family.

“We can’t undo it. I don’t know whether my sons were involved or not. Only God knows exactly what happened… it’s a terrible loss,” she said. “I wish they had killed me.”

The family was speaking a few days after the Indian parliament passed an anti-rape law to impose tougher sentences, including the death penalty, for gang-rapes and sexual assaults where the victim dies or is left in a permanent vegetative state.

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