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03/11/2013

Indian rape suspect: suicide or murder?

 

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Parents of Ram Singh Indian rape suspect. (Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters)

Ram Singh, one of the suspects in the gang rape and murder of a young Indian student was found dead in his Delhi prison cell today.

Did he commit suicide or was he murdered? Speculation continues.

Prison authorities told The Times of India that he hanged himself using his clothes.  

"Singh was not alone in the cell when he committed suicide. 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," a source told the paper.

But Singh's family and lawyer said he was murdered because his right hand was deformed and so he could not have killed himself.

Singh’s lawyer VK Anand: "There were no circumstances which could have led to Ram Singh committing suicide. There was no mental stress. He was very happy."  

Either way the BBC's Soutik Biswas said the death is embarrassing for the Indian authorities.  

"The death in prison of a man accused in the gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi has raised questions about security in South Asia's largest prison,” he said. 

 Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde told a press conference in the capital: "It is a major lapse in security, certainly it is not a small incident. Action will be taken. I cannot come to the conclusion at this moment whether it is a suicide or not before an inquiry."  

Hamida Ghafour is a foreign affairs reporter at The Star. She has lived and worked in the Middle East and Asia for more than 10 years and is the author of a book on Afghanistan. Follow her on Twitter @HamidaGhafour

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