The male friend who was with the 23-year-old victim of a brutal gang rape which occurred in Delhi on Dec. 16 has spoken out for the first time about their ordeal.
"When [the victim] gave the first statement to the lady SDM [sub-divisional magistrate], only then I came to know what had happened with her. I couldn’t believe what they did to her. Even when animals hunt, they don’t mete out such brutality to their prey," he told the Indian media outlet Zee News.
Six suspects were arrested in connection with the crime, and five of them were charged on Thursday with rape and murder.
"She faced all of this and told the magistrate that the accused should not be hanged but burnt to death," said the victim's friend.
The 28-year-old man was with the victim when they boarded the bus on which the attack took place. He suffered from a fractured leg and other injuries after being beaten by an iron rod, while his friend succumbed to her wounds while undergoing treatment in Singapore last week.
"What can I say? The cruelty I saw should not be seen ever. I tried to fight against the men but later I begged them again and again to leave her," he told Agence France-Presse in a phone interview, speaking from his parents' home in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.
The horrifying crime has sparked mass protests and calls for stricter measures to ensure women's safety across India.
The victim's friend also highlighted the ineffectuality of the police, who arrived 45 minutes late and wasted time deciding which jurisdiction the case would fall under. He said they were not taken to a hospital for nearly two hours after the attack, and were not given clothing to cover up.
"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 told Zee News.
Indian law prohibits publishing the names of the victims of rape, and the Indian press has obscured any details that might identify the victim.
More on GlobalPost: Alleged Delhi gang rapists tried to run over victim