India rape accused death sparks strong media reaction

Most Indian news TV channels and websites are giving wall-to-wall coverage of the death of Delhi gang rape accused Ram Singh in the capital's Tihar jail.

Leading news channels like CNN-IBN, Times Now, NDTV, Zee News and Aaj Tak started reporting the news as early as 06:00 local time.

The coverage initially focused on reporting the death, but later turned to questioning the circumstances under which the accused died.

Times Now is repeatedly running "Security Lapse at Tihar Jail" as its headline. The channel also highlights a statement by Mr Singh's father, saying his son did not commit suicide and suspecting foul play.

Aaj Tak says "Delhi gang-rape suspect's death creates doubts over jail's security", and ABP News channel says "Singh's suicide exposes Tihar jail's lax security".

The story came too late for the print editions, but newspaper websites have commented.

The Hindustan Times notes "speculation on how he managed to kill himself when he was supposed to be under guard" , and The Times of India reports "questions over the monitoring" of prisoners on remand.

The Indian Express leads on the statement by Mr Singh's lawyer suspecting "foul play" as his client was not depressed.

Some Twitter users reacted strongly to the news of the death. The hashtag #RamSingh was the top topic on Twitter's India trends, with leading journalists highlighting their concerns.

Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief of the CNN-IBN television network, tweets: "Serious qs confront the jail authorities. In a high security jail how did a high profile prisoner commit suicide?"

Ruchica Tomar, a journalist at news channel Headlines Today, says: "Delhi gang rape main accused Ram Singh was on suicide watch along with other accused. Tihar authorities clearly red-faced."

"A TV channel tweets how Afzal Guru's hanging scared Delhi rape accused Ram Singh. Why would anyone hang himself if he is scared of hanging?" asks Mid Day newspaper's executive editor Sachin Kalbag.

CNN-IBN presenter Pallavi Ghosh says "right heads need to roll - not some scapegoat".

Journalist Namita Bhandare feels "no doubt that Ram Singh's suicide is yet another lapse by police".

Well-known MP Jay Panda summed up the general mood when he tweeted: "Don't jails protect against suicide? But hard 2 muster sympathy."

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