NEW DELHI – Five suspects, their faces covered with woolen caps, arrived in a special fast-track New Delhi court Thursday for the start of their trial for the rape and murder of a young woman on a bus last month in a case that triggered outrage and questions over the treatment of women in India’s justice system.
Police were on alert outside the sprawling court complex in south New Delhi as the suspects arrived. Inside, about 30 policemen blocked access to the room where the trial was to be held, while scores of journalists and curious onlookers crowded the hallway.
The suspects were whisked into the courtroom by a phalanx of armed policemen so the court could hear opening arguments by the prosecution and defense lawyers. The trial will be conducted in a closed courtroom after Judge Yogesh Khanna denied a defense motion to make the proceedings public.
A sixth suspect says he is a juvenile and is expected to be tried in a juvenile court.
Police say the victim and a male friend were attacked after boarding a bus Dec. 16. The attackers beat the man and raped the woman, inflicting massive internal injuries with a metal bar, police said. The victims were dumped naked on the roadside, and the woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.