‘Quicker court verdicts will free survivors of their trauma sooner’
Daughter of a rag picker in Aashiana, she did not have any resources to fight back alone. But with the help of some social organisations, she began her battle. The long journey in quest of justice continued for more than a decade. But she never gave up.lucknow Updated: Apr 10, 2018 15:15 IST
She was only 13 when six spoilt brats pulled her inside a car and raped her. Later, the boys, led by the nephew of a mafia-turned-politician, threw her on an isolated plot, thinking that she had died. But she survived. Daughter of a rag picker in Aashiana, she did not have any resources to fight back alone. But with the help of some social organisations, she began her battle. The long journey in quest of justice continued for more than a decade. But she never gave up.
“How could I let him go free? I was only 13 years at the time but I remember every bit of the cruelty they unleashed on me in the moving car. They were drunk and took turns on me. They burnt me with cigarette butts. When I pleaded for mercy, they turned even more violent. I can never forget the pain they gave me,” she recounts.
Fighting against five wasn’t easy. But fighting against the prime accused Gaurav Shukla, kin of the mafia, was the toughest. It took almost a decade to prove that he was not a juvenile at the time of the crime. Shukla had claimed that he was a juvenile at the time to save himself of punishment under the IPC. He even fudged his age proofs. But the survivor managed to prove his real age in court.
The incident took place on May 2, 2005. Gaurav’s conviction came in April 2016. “It took 11 long years for me to get justice. I do not remember the number of times I went to the court. So many times I was made to recount the horror in the court. There were many threats to me and my family. They tried to lure us with money also. But we only wanted justice,” she said.
The battle was really tough for the family. Every time the court called for a hearing, the girl’s father had to compromise on his daily wage and be present. The girl lived in trauma all through these years.
“Delay only adds to the trauma of the victim. I had almost stopped celebrating any festival and only longed for justice. I have felt the pain all these years and can say that the earlier the cases are decided, the sooner survivors can come out of the trauma and celebrate their life. After all, why should they suffer? In my case, Gaurav Shukla got married and had children in these 10 years. While I continued to struggle for justice,” said the Ashiana gang rape survivor who is now studying.
First Published: Apr 10, 2018 15:15 IST