‘Proud of my daughter, she died protecting herself...’
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 6
In an interview to The Sunday People, a British newspaper, 53-year-old father of the gang-rape victim named the girl and said he wanted the world to know the name of his braveheart daughter.
“My daughter did not do anything wrong. She died protecting herself. I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter,” the British media house quoted him as saying in an interview held in the family’s ancestral village in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh.
The disclosure of the girl’s name comes eight days after her death in a Singapore multi-speciality hospital and 21 days after her brutal rape by a gang of six on a private bus in New Delhi.
Two days ago, a national television channel had interviewed the boy who was accompanying the girl on the night of the mishap. The Delhi Police has slapped a case against the channel for disclosing the identity of a key witness.
The victim’s father has now come out openly to name his daughter and recall and salute her fighting spirit and her wish to survive. The girl’s mother did not speak to the British paper which said: “She was too shell-shocked to talk to us.”
But girl’s father narrated in detail the painful journey of his daughter who, he said, would smile at the prospect of returning home. “I told her everything would be okay and we will soon go back home. She was excited when we talked about going home and she smiled. I put my hand on her forehead and she asked me if I had had my dinner and then she gestured to me to go to sleep,” the paper quotes the father as saying.
He also recalled the moment he landed in the hospital on the night of December 16 to see his daughter after being informed that she had met with an accident. “When I first saw her she was in the bed and her eyes were closed. I put my head on her forehead and called her name. She slowly opened her eyes and started crying and said she was in pain…” the father is quoted.
He admitted that he did not have the courage to be present in the room where his daughter’s statement was being recorded by the magistrate. The paper quotes him as saying, “My wife was with her through the statement, but she cried so much after hearing it all. She then told me what had happened. I don’t have the words to describe the incident. All I can say is they (the accused) are not human, not even animals. They are not of this world,” the father said.
The interview quotes the father on how the girl’s friend tried hard to protect her on the fateful night. “She kept telling her mother that the boy with her tried his best to help, but they kept beating him with a rod,” the newspaper quotes girl’s father, who also talked of how his daughter was the family’s biggest hope and how she wanted to go abroad to earn money.
Living on a meagre salary of Rs 5,700 a month as a loader at the airport, the man said he sold land back in UP to pay for his daughter’s physiotherapy course in a college outside Delhi.
“It is hard living in Delhi on my wages, but my daughter told me she would change it all. She wanted to change our lives once she got a job. Her absence is so painful, a future without her is unimaginable. We are devastated that she is gone. There is a huge void in our lives. Our lives revolved around her,” he said. His sons are quoted as saying they were very close to their sister and did not know how to cope with the situation.
On the fateful night, when he returned from work, he found his wife worried as their daughter had not returned home from the film show. “We tried calling on her mobile phone and also on that of her friend, but there was no answer. At 11.15 pm, I got a call from the hospital telling me that my daughter had met with an accident,” he said. It was later that the police told him about the gang rape.
Dismissing some news reports on her daughter being engaged with the boy who was accompanying her, he said: “She wanted to concentrate on her studies and did not express any desire to get married. There was no question of her marrying him because we belong to different castes.”
He thanked people of the country for coming out on the roads in support of his daughter’s cause. “The people of India have given us the strength to cope with our loss. I feel she is not just my daughter, but also India’s daughter,” he says.
2 accused want to be approvers; no escape say experts
New Delhi, January 6
Two accused, Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh, sought legal aid to be defended in the matter that has shaken the conscience of the nation and spurred a fresh debate on anti- rape laws.
Produced in the chamber of Metropolitan Magistrate Jyoti Kler today on the expiry of their 14-day judicial remand, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma said they did not want to engage a legal counsel and, instead, wanted to become witnesses for the state.
Extending the judicial custody of all accused until January 19, the Magistrate announced in the open court later, “All the accused were informed that they can seek legal aid in the case if they have not engaged any counsel. Accused Pawan and Vinay have refused to take the service of the legal aid counsel and have submitted that they want to become witnesses on behalf of the state.”
The Magistrate, while asking the accused to appear before the Saket court on January 7 as per the production warrants earlier issued to them, said, “Accused Ram and Mukesh have not engaged counsel; so they want legal aid. They be provided legal aid counsels. Let all the four accused be produced before the court concerned on January 7.” About the other two accused, the magistrate said, “Accused Pawan and Vinay have been directed to move an appropriate application to become witnesses in the case before the court concerned.”
Top legal experts pointed out that the accused facing heinous charges cannot become state witnesses as a norm and normally the concept of state witnesses was true only of cases where the prosecution requires their help for collection of evidence. In the case at hand that is not the situation and the prosecution has already claimed it has a water tight case, with the chargesheet naming 80 witnesses and producing 12 items related to the crime. The victim’s statement will serve as the dying declaration. While fifth accused Akshay Thakur will be produced before a court tomorrow, the sixth, a juvenile, is being produced before the juvenile justice board.