Thirty years ago, when he took a train to Delhi, he was alone yet hopeful of a better future. On Wednesday, when the father of the 23-year-old gang rape victim retraces his journey from his village in Ballia to Delhi, he will have little to look forward to.
A month after the December 16 incident that shook the country, he will be back in Delhi with his wife and two sons on Thursday to pick up the pieces. But life will never be the same again.
“Help has been extended, promises made. I’m grateful to governments and individuals. So many girls suffer sexual assault but all of them don’t get such support. But the truth is that life’s not going to be the same again,” the 53-year-old told HT.
He is worried about his wife. “My wife is still unable to cope with the shock and trauma of our daughter’s death. I will not resume work for a week or so. But I won’t be home for too long. I need to keep myself busy,” said the father, who works as a loader at the Delhi airport.
Even in face of despair, he is firm to put up a fight. “We have been promised houses elsewhere but we are not going to move out of Uttam Nagar. This is where my daughter and sons grew up. We always wanted to shift to a better house in a more peaceful locality but that is out of question now. We want to live with her memories,” he said.
The couple bought a 35-yard plot in Mahavir Enclave part II and built a house when their third child was yet to be born.
In the past 30 years, there have been many occasions when the family felt they couldn’t sustain and wanted to move back to their village. But they always chose to stick around to ensure better education for their children.
“We also want to see the accused punished as soon as possible. And we hope no other woman suffers the same fate,” said victim’s 46-year-old mother.
“We will cry and console each other. But we also have to fulfil her dreams. I need to do well in my board exams to make her smile, somewhere up there,” said the victim’s 15-year-old younger brother. He studies at a government school in Janakpuri.
“I couldn’t study since the harrowing night of December 16. Papa has deposited the fees for my engineering coaching. I need to work harder and give him some reason to look forward to,” said the 20-year-old elder brother.
“We had come from a village where women were not supposed to come out, study and work... But we never really feared. We had heard about crime against women in the city but never knew something like that could happen ...,” the father said.
Are protests still on in Delhi? Will the two accused become approvers and get away? Does in-camera trial augur bad for the case?
Will the most brutal of the accused get the mildest punishment because of his age? These are some questions in the minds of the family members as they move to Delhi.
UP to give Rs. 20 lakh as compensation
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday gave a cheque for Rs. 20 lakh to the victim’s family.
He also promised to bear the education expenses of the victim’s brothers.
The Delhi govt has announced financial help of Rs.15 lakh. It also plans to provide a free flat to the family in Delhi.
Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta has given a cheque for Rs.5 lakh to the victim’s family.
The institute in Dehradun, where the victim studied, has promised refund her course fee — Rs. 1.80 lakh.
The institute has also offered free education to her two brothers.