It was a quick final goodbye.
Just the way she was whisked away to Singapore — for better treatment and to keep an angry Capital calm — the gangrape victim, who died Saturday after valiantly fighting her injuries for 13 days, was cremated away from the public glare within hours of a chartered Air India plane bringing the body back at 3.30 am on Sunday.
Her inconsolable father and two brothers lit the funeral pyre at around 8am in a Dwarka crematorium exactly a fortnight after the 23-year-old was savagely beaten up, raped and thrown off a moving bus along with a friend by six men, and only weeks before she was to get married.
She was to marry the friend, a software engineer, in February. “They had made all the wedding preparations and had planned a wedding party in Delhi,” said a close friend.
“She was to get married to the same guy who was attacked on the bus with her,” said another friend she had been shopping with for wedding outfits.
Relatives, friends and neighbours barely had two hours to bid farewell when the body was brought to her south-west Delhi home at around 4am under heavy police guard after PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi met the grieving family at the IGI airport and extended their condolences.
The mother fainted as the ambulance with her daughter’s body was leaving for the cremation ground. “Don’t take my daughter away,” she cried out before collapsing.
She was rushed to local hospital and was released two hours later.
The funeral procession reached the crematorium at around 6.30am but the family waited for the fog to lift and the sun to rise before lighting the pyre.
Reports claimed that the family was under pressure to complete the last rites before sunrise but the father refused.
The decision to cremate the young woman away from public glare was that of the family, claimed minister of state for home RPN Singh, who attended the ceremony with Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
“Everything was done to respect the privacy of the family,” Singh said.
(With inputs from AFP)