Dehli rape suspect Ram Singh, 33, allegedly committed suicide in high-security Tihar prison on Monday. His family is demanding an investigation, ruling out suicide.
Ram Singh, 33, was a suspect in the gang rape on a bus in New Delhi, India, that garnered a massive public outcry across the globe in January. He was known as the ring leader of the attack.
Singh died in Tihar Prison on Monday. Jail officials told Times of India that Singh hanged himself using clothes. They also reported that he had been despondent and refused food on Sunday.
His family, however, contests the claim of suicide, saying he must have been murdered. They do not believe he would have killed himself.
“There were no circumstances which could have led to Ram Singh committing suicide. There was no mental stress. He was very happy,” Singh’s lawyer V.K. Anand told the Associated Press (AP).
Singh’s father, Mangelal Singh, told AP that the suspect was raped in prison and harassed by other inmates, yet did not show signs of despair.
“Singh was not alone in the cell when he committed suicide,” an unnamed senior jail official told Times of India. “Other inmates were present and a guard was also posted. But nobody came to know about it. Around 5 a.m., he was found hanging.”
The case may open questions of the effectiveness of surveillance in the prison, even if murder is ruled out.
The five rape suspects had reportedly been threatened and taunted by fellow inmates and were under constant surveillance. The sixth suspect, a juvenile, is being tried separately.
An investigation is currently underway.
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