New Delhi, Dec 16: Even two years after the ghastly Nirbhaya rape case in New Delhi, her parents choke in sorrow. Speaking to them was a very difficult task, as we had to be sensitive not to hurt their feelings. In an exclusive interview with a OneIndia reporter, Nirbhaya's parents recall what they went through when they saw their brave girl sunk into numbness.
Even as they gulp down their sorrows, they also rue about the unchanged social set-up and the way women are continued to be seen even after the uprising in December 2012. And in that process, they help us find an answer to questions that we have been trying to look for all these years. [December 16 Delhi gangrape: An incident that shamed the nation]
OneIndia: After the 16th December incident, a lot of things may have changed in your lives. Who do you blame for this?
Mother: What happened to Nirbhaya was wrong and should not happen to any woman anywhere in the world. However, people are awakened now and are forcing the government to think in a different way. Rules have been announced, but the complicated Indian administration delays implementation. So, things failed to change. My daughter hasn't yet received justice and I hate this system for that.
OneIndia: Who do you blame for the increasing rape cases in India?
Father: It is the system that is solely responsible for my daughter's fate. It is been 2 years since the rape of my daughter and the culprits are still enjoying free meals in jail. It is because of the loopholes in the system that the culprits have still not been hanged to death. The announcement has been made, but there are no results yet. For some reason, people have stopped being scared of the law and that is the reason why there is an increase in rape cases.
OneIndia: How do you think these incidents can be stopped?
Mother: These would continue to happen unless and until people are scared of the law. When people would start realising that if they assault a women, they would be punished, they would start behaving. Moreover, the punishment should be so strong that people should shudder before trying to rape a woman. Currently, sexual predators know that whatever they do, nothing will happen to them.
OneIndia: Are you satisfied with the punishment that has been given to Nirbhaya's assaulters?
Mother: It is true that the punishment has been announced. But they are still alive and living on government's expenses. I have full faith in the law of India. My daughter will get justice, but not until I get the news of their hanging.
OneIndia: After what happened with Nirbhaya, people are scared to send their daughters to Delhi. What do you have to say to that?
Father: Even I was scared after what happened with Nirbhaya. But the government has restored faith in me. However, with increasing cases of rape in the capital, any father will be scared to send his daughter to such a place.
OneIndia: Do you believe that it is not just the raped who suffers, but also her family?
Father: Rape happens to a woman, but the pain is felt by the entire family. After the rape, it is the police investigation that batters the family. When the case reaches the court, a lawyer's questionnaire shatters a woman's psyche. Add to it the gazing eyes of the public who either sympathise or chastise you with their eyes. A woman is, thus, raped at various locales.
OneIndia: What do you suggest to remove this narrow-mindedness of the society?
Father: Campaigns and awareness programs are mandatory to make people aware of their own evils.
OneIndia: How responsible do you think is the police when it comes to crime against women?
Father: Police is not responsible for crimes against women. They do their work, but court cases drag along and kill time. A delayed justice has finished the fear in the criminals.
OneIndia: A woman 'invites' rape if she wears Jean and T-shirt. Do you agree to that?
Father: Rape can happen to a woman in a saree or a salwar suit. I completely disagree to the fact that a woman invites rape because of her outfit. It is the narrow-mindedness of the people.
OneIndia: What do you remember most about Nirbhaya?
Father: (Chokes) On Christmas eve, when Nirbhaya was in ICU, I had brought a cake for her and was standing outside the door. She saw me and gestured me to come in. In a fumbled voice, she asked: "Papa, did you have food? You must be tired. Please get some sleep". She said this and went to sleep- a sleep that is yet to end. I cannot forget this even if I want to. On the 29th of December, the doctors declared her dead and that was the end.