“Mother, I want to live,” she wrote on a paper undergoing the worst pain anyone possibly could. Her spirit was high, irrespective of the fact that her life would never be the same again. The doctors called her brave. The media christened her Nirbhaya while the public named her Damini. The outpouring for her was a huge and unprecedented sea of humanity never seen before. Quite possible since her story had woken them up from their deep slumber of years. Through her plight she had managed to touch everyone. She was just like any other normal, fun loving, college girl a few days back.
But today she had become Nirbhaya- the courageous one.
The entire country was shocked beyond measure on learning about her brutal rape and sexual abuse. Still remember my mother getting very depressed and putting the paper away on reading about the same. I myself could not come to terms with the fact that someone can be so demonic without even a slight ounce of humanity in their hearts, to commit a crime of this grave nature. Her story was everywhere over the Media- TV, Print, Online, Social platforms, just about everywhere.
The media voiced the protests of an entire nation. The police swung into action under the pressurised circumstances and arrested the culprits within the next few days. Politicians demanded a stronger law. Lawyers said they won’t defend the rapists. Doctors put in their complete efforts to save the girl. Seemed like everyone empathised with her, wanted her to recover and the rapists punished.
Then on a cold night, she passed away in a distant land shifted under ‘sudden change of health’ and then cremated under mysterious circumstances. Which makes me think as to what or who really caused her death? Who is the real culprit? And this is where the questions begin…
The girl and her male friend had gone out for a movie on 16 dec 2012(Sunday evening) in South Delhi (one of the most ‘posh’ and hence probably also the safest locality). Post the movie when they came out for an auto, a private bus stopped by. Since it was headed towards her home, they boarded the bus unsuspectingly. What followed was nothing short of barbaric. Her friend got beaten up badly and she was gang raped inside the moving bus. Using an iron rod they ravaged her to an extent that her body could take no more! Stripping both of them naked and snatching off their phones, the men dropped them on the road like a pile of garbage thrown out of the house. Later on the police came and the girl was hospitalized along with the boy. This was what was reported in the papers.
What failed to make the cut is the following…
For nearly half an hour post the rape, no body came to their rescue. The boy called out to everyone on the road that he could see. Several auto rickshaws, cars and bikes slowed down but none stopped by for help. As she lie bleeding, the critical golden hour (the first hour post an accident) just ticked by. Even when the vans came hardly anyone stepped forward to help the duo get into them ….Guilty of negligence--Public
There were 3 PCR vans not that far-off, strangely no one noticed anything strange about the bus inspite of the fact that it kept circling around when the crime was on. To add insult to injury, the police on arrival wasted time in deciding in whose jurisdiction the case fell. They didn’t bother to even cover up the girl or help the boy. Instead of taking them to a nearby hospital they took them to a hospital far away. By the time they reached another 2-3 hours had ticked by…..Guilty of inaction—Police
Even at the hospital, the staff didn’t bother to cover them up or expedite the procedure of getting admitted. The doctors apparently at the hospital did whatever they could to save the girl. Updates flowed to the public through the Media on her condition. And then suddenly they recommended better specialised treatment and shifted her to Singapore with immediate effect. Strange that they waited for so long to take this call. Why was this not taken before…..Guilty of proper care---Doctors
Then there was the Government or did it even exist in the first place! There is a joke going around Delhi these days that the only two women safe in our national capital are Sheila Dikshit and Sonia Gandhi. The shifting of the girl to Singapore at the last moment and her body not being shown to the public before the funeral definitely exposes the intentions of a government more concerned about its security than its subjects. The fact that the boy received no financial aid or treatment during his ordeal exposes its apathy. Added to that a few of them passed comments on the girl and women in general reflecting a retrograde mindset. They tear gassed and lathicharged the protestors….Guilty of power abuse—The government
And then the perpetuators of the crime …Guilty beyond measure---The Rapists.
Could these have been avoided? Most definitely yes! Even after the girl was raped and left to the mercy of her fate, had anyone of the above shown some spine and acted efficiently, who knows she could have been alive!. What saddens me is that above all of them the one that could have really made a difference to her was the common man, the public to whom I and you belong. While we may rant our anger on the social media and hold candlelight vigils in protest, the fact of the matter remains that the public should have rushed to the rescue during the golden hour while she was battling for her life. Whether it was apathy towards them or the fear of being harassed by cops, whatever held them back is not justifiable. A timely action could have changed the end of her life!
To quote a Urdu poet here-
mein kis key hath pe apna lahu talaash karun, tamam sheher ne pehne hue hain dastaane…on whose hands do I search my blood, when the entire city is wearing gloves!
Today the girl is no more. Her spirit still burns in all of us as Nirbhaya, but then had we conquered our Bhay (fear) on that fateful day; at least we would have not been guilty of her death in some way. Which is where I feel that even after her death and even after the rapists someday meet their punishment, the question will remain and the guilt will rancor in us as to Who indeed killed Nirbhaya?...