New Delhi: The trial of five men accused of raping and murdering a medical student on a moving bus in Delhi began today with the student's companion, a software engineer, testifying against them in court.
Before the student was raped, the engineer, who was with her on the bus, was hit so badly with an iron rod that he is still unable to walk properly. He arrived at court in a wheelchair, escorted by his father. "My son will go to any lengths to ensure the guilty are punished," he told news agency AFP.
The bus used in the attack that stunned and horrified India, triggering massive protests and new anti-rape laws, was brought to the court complex today for identification by the software engineer. Tomorrow, he will be cross-examined by defence lawyers.
The case is being heard in a special fast-track court. The judge has banned all reporting of proceedings inside the courtroom.
On Saturday, the five suspects pleaded not guilty in court to the charges against them. If convicted, they could face the death penalty. A sixth, who is a juvenile, is being tried separately and faces a maximum sentence of three years in a reform facility.
The student's father expressed his family's unhappiness with that at a press conference in another part of the capital. "We want all six men to be hanged," he said. (Read: She died but awakened the nation, says medical student's father)
Before she died, 23-year-old Amanat (NOT her real name) recorded her testimony for a judge; for the prosecution, her statement along with that of her friend's, will be crucial.
In a television interview, the engineer has said that over an hour after the attack on them began, the couple was thrown from the bus onto the road. He said that the gang on the bus wanted to run the student over, but he pushed her out of the way.
(with inputs from Agencies)