Away from the limelight on the verdict in the December 16 gang-rape and murder, the ‘juvenile’ convicted in the case, who was found guilty of raping and killing the 23-year-old physiotherapist on December 16, 2012 — has settled well in his new life. He is cooking at a prominent restaurant. The minor has turned 23 years old now.
“He was always worried about getting lynched and that is why he was sent to the southern part of the country. Now, the verdict has come, focus will again move to him but he is at a place where he might not even see the national news channels. His employer is not aware of his past and even he has left it behind,” said a NGO official, who was part of his rehabilitation process.
The officer, however, refused to reveal any further details fearing safety of the ‘juvenile’.
A year after he walked free, he was employed at a dhaba in south India.
“After his release on December 20, 2015, he was kept with an NGO for a few days. Later, the NGO rehabilitated him to the southern part of the country. He is currently employed as cook at a restaurant,” he said.
The officer said that not many are aware of his background. He was 11 when he fled home, 240 km from Delhi. His elder sister single-handedly fends for the family of six — ailing mother, younger siblings and bedridden father. The family still lives in the same village.
After leaving home, he came to Delhi to earn money and got in touch with Ram Singh and the other accused. He used to clean the bus in which the physiotherapist student was raped on December 16, and they would give him food in return. On that night too, they asked him to accompany them.
During his time at the shelter, he used to call his mother often, said an official.
A number of welfare officers and a counsellor, who spoke to him at the correction home, told HT that he was the most disciplined inmate.
They say soon after coming to the shelter, he turned religious. He grew a beard and started offering namaz five times a day. Initially, he was kept away from the other inmates. But during the last year of his stay, he shared the dormitory with a high court blast accused.
“This led many to believe that he was radicalised. So he was shifted to a separate room. He had little interest in studies and the only thing he learnt was to write his name. Cooking is his passion and he was always there to give a final touch to dishes prepared by the staff. Inmates often demanded food cooked by him,” the officer added.
However, intelligence bureau still keeps a watch on him.
“He was a victim of circumstances. When I got a chance to meet him, I found him sad the way his role was portrayed in the incident. He was pushed into child labour at the age of 9 and worked at hazardous sectors. He is leading a Normal life, which all he wanted,” said Amod Kanth, chairperson of Prayas, an NGO who runs a home in Feroz Shah kotla, where his trial was conducted.