The case of five men accused of the gang-rape and murder of a student on a New Delhi bus was set to be transferred to a fast-track trial court Saturday, as her boyfriend recounted for the first time his efforts to save her.
The horrifying crime has appalled India and brought simmering anger over widespread crime against women to the boil amid demands for safer streets, more sensitive policing and a change in social attitudes.
Police arrested six suspects soon after the attack and formally charged five of them in court on Thursday with murder, rape and kidnap. One of them claims to be a juvenile aged 17, who is undergoing a bone test to check his age.
A district court was due to hold its second hearing Saturday and is expected to transfer the case of the five men to a special "fast-track" court set up amid a public outcry and demands for the culprits to be hanged.
Adding to the anger and soul-searching underway in India was the first description of events from the boyfriend of the 23-year-old physiotherapy student, who was with her when they were attacked.
"The cruelty I saw should not be seen ever," the 28-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told AFP of the savagery of the assault, which left the woman with such serious internal injuries that she died last weekend.
"I tried to fight against the men but later I begged them again and again to leave her," he said from his family's home in rural northern India where he is taking time out from his job at a software firm in the capital.
The 28-year-old recounted bitterly how passers-by had failed to come to their rescue after they were thrown out of the moving vehicle without clothes after their ordeal.
He also criticised police for failing to be sensitive to their mental condition after the attack, and raised questions about the emergency care given in the public hospital which admitted his girlfriend.
"A passerby found us (after the attack), but he did not even give my friend his jacket. We waited for the police to come and save us," he told AFP.
Later Friday, he appeared for the first time in public since the attack, giving an anguished interview to Hindi-language Indian cable channel Zee News, in which he again criticised police and onlookers for failing to help.
"They could have taken us to hospital, given us clothes in that crucial one and half hours. For a dying person every minute is important," he told the channel, adding that police had taken 45 minutes to reach the scene.
Police told AFP on Saturday they had filed a case against the channel because the interview - which showed the boyfriend in full view - had illegally disclosed the identity of a rape victim.
The Committee for the Protection of Journalists criticised the move in a statement.
The man, who said he was "in love" with the victim but declined to comment on statements from friends that they were to marry, told AFP how events had quickly spiralled out of control on the bus.
The couple had been to see the film "Life of Pi" at an upmarket shopping mall and were finding it difficult to flag down a rickshaw afterwards.
"I was not very confident about getting into the bus but my friend was running late, so we got into it. This was the biggest mistake I made and after that everything went out of control," he said.
The boyfriend told how the driver and his accomplices allegedly made lewd remarks before stopping the vehicle and locking the doors.
"They hit me with a small stick and dragged my friend to a seat near the driver's cabin," he said.
After that the "driver and the other men raped my friend and hit her in the worst possible ways in the most private parts of her body".
"I cannot tell you what I feel when I think of it. I shiver in pain," he said, adding that police had eventually arrived but were dismissive of their mental condition.
"I was treated like an object by the police... They wanted all the help to solve the case even before getting me the right treatment," he said.
He added that he was "not satisfied" at the treatment his girlfriend was given at the government-run Safdarjung Hospital.
"Anywhere in the world the prognosis was not very good to start with," Yatin Mehta, a highly experienced critical care specialist at the private Medanta hospital, who helped with her treatment, told AFP.