Who are these men?


A priest, a wayward driver and his brother, a juice vendorómen with routine lives and routine travails. But on a Sunday night, these men from a south Delhi slum turned savage

Until last week, Ravi Dass Camp in R K Puram's Sector 3 was a peaceful slum, bordered by a temple, a mosque and a gurdwara. Hundreds of migrants, mostly labourers, lived here in its 200-odd houses. But things changed over the past week. The colony is now coping with its new-found infamy as the neighbourhood whose six residents allegedly raped a 23-year-old paramedical student, brutally assaulting her and her friend, before dumping them out of a moving bus.

Hari Ram Sharma, father of one of the accused, Vinay Sharma, grapples with his own questions on his son's shocking behaviour, saying there must have been "some mistake" in the way Vinay had been brought up. Earlier this week, during his appearance in a Delhi court, Vinay, who is in police custody, confessed to his crime and sought no mercy.

Till he was 18, Vinay lived in a temple in Basti in Uttar Pradesh, where his grandfather was a priest. Besides his formal education, his grandfather also taught him religious texts. "I cannot believe what Vinay has done to that poor girl. He lived in a temple which is famous in our village. After his schooling in Basti, he had come to Delhi hoping to study further. Now, he has brought disrepute to our family."

Vinay, 20, the eldest of four siblings, would often be called upon to perform pujas in the colony's temple during festivals. Apart from working at a gymnasium in Siri Fort, he was also studying for his B.Com from IGNOU. On Monday, the police called his father and told him that Vinay wanted to meet his parents and apologise to them for what he had done. "None of us wants to meet him now. His mother has stopped eating and collapsed this morning. I am not worried about him but I am very concerned about the poor girl fighting for her life in hospital. My son should be given the severest of punishments that is available in our country today," he says.

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