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NRIs offer help to gang-rape victim's family

Offers of help from the Gujarati community abroad are pouring in for the family of a girl, who committed suicide after being allegedly gang-raped by her boyfriend.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2004 14:28 IST

Offers of help and sympathy from the Gujarati community abroad are pouring in for the family of a young woman, who committed suicide after being allegedly gang-raped by her boyfriend and his friends.

The shocking rape and its tragic aftermath has evoked a sharp response from non-resident Indians (NRIs) with her family receiving not only letters of sympathy but also offers of monetary aid to help the middle-class family fight its legal battles.

Bijal Joshi, 24, committed suicide on January 7 after being allegedly raped by her Delhi-based boyfriend Sajal Jain and his four friends at an Ahmedabad hotel on New Year's Eve.

The story was widely publicised leading an NRI to offer Rs. 100,000 as token aid to Bijal's family to fight the case. The family has received a number of other letters from the non-resident Gujarati community, especially from the US. They, however, could not be contacted for comments.

"May Bijal's soul rest in peace and may God help society in fighting evils perpetrated on innocents. We pray for justice to the victim. Criminals must be punished. We, the NRIs living in the US, are with you in your fight," stated one letter, according to published excerpts.

"We are ready to donate a token of Rs. 100,000 to help you in the legal proceedings," the letter added.

Said another anguished NRI: "I pledge to launch a people's campaign if the perpetrators of crimes are not punished. I will do my best to see that justice is delivered. We are also thinking of launching a voluntary organisation here to help the innocent in fighting crime."

A San Diego-based NRI, who belongs to Ahmedabad, wrote: "It is simply unacceptable. Criminals in Gujarat have had their ways with their financial muscle power and political connections. That must stop."

"The criminals must be punished with nothing less than death penalty," it added. The letter also appealed to the state government to take concrete measures to prevent crimes against women.

The Joshi family has alleged that the city police was conducting the investigations in a lackadaisical manner resulting in the loss of several pieces of evidence. Following the complaint, the city police suspended six officials who failed in their duty.

In her suicide note, Bijal implicated Jain, from an affluent Delhi-based business family, and his four friends. Jain, who had been absconding after the incident, was arrested by the city police from the Millennium Hospital in Delhi on January 15. He has been remanded to police custody till Saturday.

First Published: Jan 23, 2004 14:28 IST