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One of the men accused of gang raping and fatally beating a young woman on the back of a New Delhi bus was found dead in his jail cell Monday morning.
Ram Singh, the man who was driving the bus when the fatal incident took place in December, was discovered hanging for a makeshift noose fashioned from his own clothing, an official from Tihar Jail told the New York Times in an interview.
Singh was one of five men and one juvenile accused of murder, rape and kidnapping. He was reportedly the most cooperative with the police, providing a confession early in the investigation that led to the capture of the other five suspects.
The incident became something of a social movement over the treatment of women in Indian society. Mass street protests erupted across the country, urging for swift justice and reforms to help ensure the safety of Indian women. A wide variety of public figures and Bollywood stars have spoken out in support of the protests and called for reforms.
While police have indicated that they believe Singh hanged himself, his parents and lawyer are crying foul play.
“Ram Singh did not kill himself. He was murdered,” Singh’s father, Mangi Lai, told a CNN affiliate.
Singh shared a cell with other inmates and it is not clear how he could have managed to hang himself with his own clothing without attracting the attention of those sharing the small quarters.
“I suspect there is foul play,” said V.K. Anand, Singh’s lawyer. “There were no circumstances for committing suicide. His mental state was stable, the trial was going well, he was meeting with his family. I can’t understand why he would commit suicide.”
“This is a high-profile prisoner, and he was under special protection,” Anand went on. “He was never left alone. How could this happen?”
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek