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Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Dead Rapist

     Ram Singh, a violent 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 in December 2012. The victim had been penetrated with a metal rod and thrown nude from 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 eventually led to legal reforms in the country.

     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 reported Singh's death as a suicide, his lawyer and members of his family claimed he had been murdered. India's home minister admitted a "serious security lapse" on the part of jail personnel. Whether Ram Singh hanged himself or was murdered, very few people in India mourned his passing. 

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