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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Crime Bulletin: Leader of Indian Rape Gang Found Dead in His Cell

     Ram Singh, a violant man who drank a lot and lived in the slums of New Delhi, India, was in jail, along with four other adults and a juvenile, for the beating, gang-rape, and murder a 23-year-old student on a bus last December. The victim had been penetrated with a metal rod and thrown nude off the moving bus. She died two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore. Her male companion was beaten as well, but he survived the attack. The brutal crime, committed in broad daylight, energized women's rights advocates who have been accusing practitioners in the Indian criminal justice system of treating rape as a victimless crime. The highly publicized rape and murder has already led to legal reforms in the country. (See: "Rape in India: A Victimless Crime," January 1, 2013.)

     At five in the morning on Monday, March 11, 2013, a jail guard found Ram Singh hanging in his cell. He had used a length of cloth to fashion a noose. His cell had been occupied by two other inmates. Knowing that he faced the death penalty if convicted, the suspect had threatened to kill himself, and was on suicide watch.

     While government officials have reported Singh's death as a suicide, his lawyer and members of his family claim he was murdered. India's home minister has admitted a "serious security lapse" by jail personnel. Whether Ram Singh hanged himself or was murdered, very few people in India will mourn his passing. 

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