"Nobody helped us for an hour" - rape witness

NEW DELHI Sat Jan 5, 2013 3:54pm IST

Participants hold candles as they sing during a vigil for the rape victim, who passed away last Friday, in Singapore January 2, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Participants hold candles as they sing during a vigil for the rape victim, who passed away last Friday, in Singapore January 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Passers-by left a gang-raped student lying unclothed and bleeding in the street for almost an hour, a male friend who was assaulted with her said on Friday in his first public comments on the case that provoked a global outcry.

The 23-year-old student died in hospital two weeks after she was attacked on December 16 in a private bus in New Delhi, prompting street protests over the authorities' failure to stem rampant violence against women.

The graphic account from the man in a television interview is likely to add fuel to public anger over the death in a country where official statistics show one rape is reported every 20 minutes.

The woman's friend told the Zee News television network he was beaten unconscious with a metal bar by her attackers before the pair were thrown off the bus.

They lay in the street for 45 minutes before a police van arrived, and officers then spent a long time arguing about where to take them, the man said.

"We kept shouting at the police, 'please give us some clothes' but they were busy deciding which police station our case should be registered at," the man said in Hindi.

Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told Reuters GPS records show the first police van reached the scene four minutes after the police were called, and took the man and the woman to hospital within 24 minutes.

Neither the woman nor her friend have been named. Five men were charged with her gang rape and murder on Thursday. They must appear before a New Delhi court on Monday to hear the charges against them, the court said on Saturday.

TWITTER ANGER

The man's comments caused an renewed outpouring of anger on Twitter. "After reading and watching the Zee News interview i'm absolutely shocked and ashamed of being an Indian," said @BarunKiBilli.

The man called for the protests to continue, but said he wished people had come to his friend's help at the time.

"You have to help people on the road when they need help."

The male friend said he and the woman were attacked after an evening out watching a film.

"From where we boarded the bus, they (the attackers) moved around for nearly two and a half hours. We were shouting, trying to make people hear us. But they switched off the lights of the bus," he said, according to a transcript of the interview.

When they were thrown out, they pleaded with passers-by for help, he added in the studio interview, a blue metal crutch leaning on his chair.

"There were a few people who had gathered round but nobody helped. Before the police came I screamed for help but the auto rickshaws, cars and others passing by did not stop," the man added.

(Reporting By Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Daniel Magnowski)

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