Hundreds of people protested outside a Delhi police station on Monday. [Source: BBC News]
The gruesome death of a 20-year-old woman in India’s capital Delhi on 1 January has shocked the country.
News reports say the woman, who was an event manager, was returning from work in the early hours of New Year’s Day when her scooter collided with a car.
Police say the driver of the car, which was carrying four other passengers, kept going for miles, dragging the woman’s body along.
Several CCTV videos have emerged that show the body underneath the car.
Road accidents are common in India – and kill hundreds of thousands of people every year – but this particularly horrific case has gained national attention and generated widespread media coverage.
The Indian Express newspaper reported that the woman’s body was pulled along the road for almost an hour, and that witnesses made at least five calls to the police before it was located. That this occurred at New Year – when thousands of policemen had been deployed to patrol Delhi’s roads – has only added to the questions around the case.
The five men in the car are in police custody and have not made any statements yet.
While the police continue their investigation – the federal home ministry has ordered a swift inquiry – the woman’s family says they are stunned.
“My daughter was very cheerful. She loved making Instagram Reels,” her mother told BBC Hindi.
The 20-year-old was also the sole breadwinner of her family – her father died some years ago, and her mother had to stop working because of an illness.
“We don’t even have money to perform her last rites,” her mother said.
The dead woman’s family have alleged that she was sexually assaulted because her body was naked when it was recovered – but police have said the post-mortem report does not indicate this.
“All injuries occurred due to blunt force impact and possibly with a vehicular accident and dragging. Also, the report indicates that there is no injury suggestive of sexual assault,” according to a statement from senior Delhi police official Sagar Preet Hooda.
He said the provisional cause of death was “shock and haemorrhage due to injury to the head, spine, left femur and both lower limbs”.
The police have also said they have located another woman who was riding pillion with the victim when the collision occurred – the second woman fled in fear and is now helping the police.