The father and three-year-old sister of a minor girl who was gang-raped in Mandawali on Sunday have not eaten since. And it is not just because of the trauma.
The 40-year-old man, bedridden with a prolonged cardiac ailment, is dependent on his wife -- a daily wager. Since she is with her daughter at All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), there is nobody to support him and the younger daughter.
The seven-year-old girl was kidnapped and brutalised by three neighbours late on Sunday night. She suffered injuries in her private parts.
“My wife earns R300 everyday either by working in the fields or at construction sites. I am weak because of my heart condition and anaemia. I can’t even stand without support,” said the father, sitting on a cot outside the shack from where the minor girl was kidnapped.
“Our neighbours sometimes give us food. But they can’t feed us every day as they are also poor,” he said.
The area near Yamuna Khadar, where the family lives in a hut, does not have electricity supply and access to drinking water, roads and toilets. The victim’s father explained that they were able to sustain all these years because of their helpful neighbours. But the trust has been shaken after their daughter’s gang rape.
“Despite being a slum area that has no civic amenities, our area had not experienced such an incident. But now I am afraid. Those who perpetrated this dastardly act were not outsiders but our neighbours,” he said.
“I fear for the safety of my other four minor daughters,” he said.
The family, which belongs to a village in Uttar Pradesh, have decided to leave the city.
“My children walk some two kilometres on the dirt roads that pass through the jungle to reach school everyday. If neighbours would became predators, how can we send our children to school,” the father said. He said the rape victim was a Class 1 student at a nearby government school.
Even as the family is struggling to cope with the tragedy help is yet to come from official quarters. The victim’s father said neither the government nor any private organisation has come forward to help them.
The family is hopeful that the local politicians, who had visited them during elections and promised them every possible help to make their lives better, will render some help.