Interview: Satisfied with response from police, government: rape victim’s father
Five men accused of the rape and murder of the 23-year-old student appeared in court on Monday to hear charges against them.
Reuters’ Shashank Chouhan interviewed the rape victim’s father over telephone. Here are the excerpts:
Q: Why did you reveal your daughter’s identity to a UK newspaper?
A: When the (new) law will be made, it has to be made after the girl’s name. There is nothing wrong in giving out the name – it is not for any wrong purpose. It will not harm anyone nor should anyone object. Nothing objectionable is being said or written. That is why I gave the name.
Q: Do you want the new law to be named after your daughter?
A: Yes, I want that.
Q: Why do you want that, is there any special reason behind it?
A: How else can she be made immortal? Suppose a hospital is made, a memorial is made or the law is amended after her name … after all the martyrdom was hers. So it would be good if the law is in her name.
Q: If the media were to ask you to release the photo of your daughter, would you do it?
A: Yes I would … we don’t want to hide her identity, there is no reason for that. The only condition is that it should not be misused.
Q: Her friend and eye witness to the crime gave an interview to Zee News have you seen it?
A: No, there is no electricity here.
Q: Ok … I will tell you what he said. He has said that he and your daughter were dumped on the road and that no one helped them. So don’t you think even the society is at fault here?
A: I can’t say anything on this issue … but if no one helped then how did they reach the hospital?
Q: Sure, the police helped them later but your daughter’s friend says for the first 20-25 minutes nobody helped them?
A: I don’t know anything about that. How can I say anything..
Q: He also said that even the police were slow in their response…
A: No, when we reached there, she was already being taken for an ultra-sound. So everything was done so swiftly that we could never have imagined that. We thought because she is a medical student, the hospital is doing everything quickly. We are locals (implying without any influence as such) after all and thought things will not happen fast enough.
Q: There is talk of amendment in law but do you think the situation overall will change and improve by just a change in the law?
A: Only with a change in the law something will happen, without that nothing will change.
Q: What do you think about this incident taking a political turn with comments from politicians commenting on it every day?
A: This is not right. We only want a change in law, the law should be named after her and the convicts should be hanged.
Q: The case has started today. What is your demand and expectation from this?
A: We want the accused should be hanged quickly.
Q: But like with most cases in India, do you think this will be a drawn out process as well?
A: It will get over quickly. A court has been setup for this so it will happen quickly.
Q: But one of the accused may be below 18 years of age and may be let off lightly under the Juvenile Justice Act…
A: No, that will not happen. He will be punished like others in the case. Let’s see what change in the law is made. No one will be forgiven… they will be sent to the gallows regardless their age.
Q: Are you annoyed with the constant media attention on your family and certainly I am a part of it too?
A: That is right. We want to distract ourselves but our attention goes back to that incident again. The days that we have seen before our eyes are not even over yet … it does hurt.
Q: Did you leave Delhi for your village because of that?
A: No, there is nothing like that. There were some rituals to be followed so we came here.
Q: Has any aid promised by the Delhi government reached you yet?
A: Not yet. We had a word with Sheila Dikshit. She said once you return from your village you will get the aid.
Q: Are you satisfied with the response from the police and government at the end of it all?
A: Yes … we have no complaints whatsoever. I was considering myself only a common man and thought nothing will happen quickly. But that was not the case. Police behaviour did not cause us any inconvenience. They were ready to do anything for her. We have no complaints.
Q: Do you now think that you should not have given freedom to your children perhaps?
A: No never, how will they progress without freedom. They should study well and progress in life.
Q: Were you hopeful about your daughter’s recovery when you were flown out to Singapore?
A: We went because we were hopeful.
(Additional reporting by Atish Patel)