New Delhi: The gang-rape victim who died in Singapore was headed home after an evening of movie and fun with a friend two Sundays ago when they spotted a bus plying illegally on Delhi's roads.
After watching the movie in Saket in south Delhi, they had reached Munrika, also in south Delhi, where the private bus was parked by a road. It was late evening on Dec 16.
The crew told them they were headed to Dwarka in west Delhi.
It was a lie. The unsuspecting couple had no reason to disbelieve them. It was a terrible blunder.
The bus with tinted windows and curtains was under the control of a group of men with criminal mindset, the driver and conductor included.
During the day, the bus ferried school students. At night, the owner left the bus with the crew, unmindful of what they did.
Unknown to the young couple, the men on board the bus had sometime earlier robbed a man of money and dumped him. He went to police, who did not take his complaint seriously.
It was the second blunder of the day that was to lead to a horrific crime that stunned and shamed India.
According to police who later put together the sequence of events, once the bus began moving, the six men in the bus caught hold of the woman and dragged her to the back.
She resisted, and so they beat her. The young man was also assaulted when he tried to fight them.
Then followed an agonizing 40 minutes when the bus crew gang-raped the woman. If that was not enough, one or more than one of them tortured her with an iron rod.
Their lust satisfied, the battered woman and her friend were dumped by a roadside at Mahipalpur, about eight kilometres away.
They lay there naked, shivering and bleeding. No one seemingly bothered to stop by. It was a routine patrol of the National Highway Authority of India that saw the two and alerted the police.
As the enormity of the crime became known, India was shocked. Doctors at Safdarjung Hospital said they had never seen any rape victim like her.
As the woman struggled to live, at one point telling her family that she did not want to die, angry citizens hit the streets across India.
New Delhi saw the largest protests, with violence one day leading to a policeman's death.
As demonstrators ranted against the callousness of a system that let buses to ply illegally and allowed such violence to take place, officials were forced to act.
The young woman was put on ventilator support right from the time of her admission. But her condition kept deteriorating.
On Wednesday night, the young woman was shifted to Singapore in a last ditch attempt to save her.
It was too late. When she entered the Mount Elizabeth Hospital, she was already sinking. On Saturday morning, as her distraught family watched, the young woman passed away. She has been cremated and her ashes immersed in the Ganges on Tuesday, but the brutality and events leading up to it should remind the country of the audacity of the crime.