Four years on, ‘juvenile’ of Dec 16 gang rape now cooking at a roadside eatery
He was trained in painting, tailoring and cooking during his three-year stay at north Delhi’s Majnu Ka Tila shelter home. But for the 22-year-old man- the ‘juvenile’ of the Dec 16 gang rape, who was found guilty of raping and killing the 23-year-old physiotherapist on December 16, 2012- cooking was always an art he wanted to master.
A year after he walked free, he is far away from the national capital, earning a living cooking at a dhaba in south India. Authorities do not want to disclose his location fearing a threat to his life.
“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 working at a roadside eatery,” said an officer, who was part of his rehabilitation programme.
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.