Far away from the madding crowd that shadowed them throughout the past one year; the family of Delhi’s braveheart stole a private moment to observe her first death anniversary in their native village in Uttar Pradesh.
It was exactly a year ago when the 23-year-old physiotherapy student, who was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in the national Capital, succumbed to her injuries, miles away from her homeland in a Singapore hospital.
“We have come to our village to perform a puja (prayer) on her death anniversary. The entire village turned up for the ritual and shared our grief,” said the victim’s brother.
The family has decided to set up a trust in her name to help women facing violence.
The victim’s father alleged that the promises made had not been fulfilled and expressed disappointment that none of the political leaders had visited the village on the anniversary.
He also said that the victim’s brother was yet to be given a job as promised by Uttar Pradesh government.
About the punishment to the perpetrators of the horrendous crime, he said that the family would be content only after all the accused were given capital punishment.
The gang rape had triggered tremendous uproar and led to violent protests across the country last year that eventually resulted in Parliament passing stringent anti-rape laws.
The brother of the girl, though, welcomed reforms made since last one year but felt the need for further changes in society that included the change in attitude towards women.
“We do think that society as a whole still needs to change its mindset and even women should become more careful about their safety,” he said.
It was the exemplary courage shown by the victim, first in fighting her attackers hard and later narrating her ordeal to the authorities despite having sustained grave injuries, which helped nail all the six culprits.
Even doctors treating her, could not stop raving about the spirited fight that she put up during those 13 days in the hospital after the assault.
“In my 34 years of experience as a surgeon I have not come across more brutal assault on a person. It was man-made and irreparable,” says Dr Sunil Jain, the senior surgeon at Safdarjung Hospital, who operated upon the victim.
Doctors performed gastrostomy— creation of an artificial external opening into the stomach for nutritional support, and duodenostomy— formation of a permanent opening into the duodenum through the abdominal wall, during a six-hour surgery immediately after she was brought in.
“It was a foregone conclusion from day one that she will not survive because of the nature of injuries,” Dr Jain said.