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Brave hearts in their own right

DC | NANDITA RAVI
Published Nov 14, 2013, 6:47 pm IST
Updated Mar 18, 2019, 6:13 pm IST
Asha Devi & Badri Singh, parents of Delhi gang-rape victim, relive moments of their daughter’s trauma in their chat with DC

Chennai: One look at the Delhi gang-rape victim’s  braveheart parents, Asha Devi and Badri Singh, and one instantly knows that they are not over the tragedy that took place a little less than a year ago.

Coming under the scanner of the media and having to repeat their story over and over haven’t deterred their spirit. Badri Singh says he would do it again in a heartbeat, as long as it brings what happened to their daughter to the light and justice is served. In a brutally honest chat to DC, Asha and Badri, who were in Chennai to receive an award for their bravery, speak about their daughter’s last moments and how making an effort to move on is not as easy as it seems.

 

That day was just like any other day “December 16 was the day we were doing laundry at our place,” recalls Badri Singh. “We usually have the practice of doing our laundry once a week, and I still remember her getting everything ready to be put in the washing machine in the morning. She (rape victim) was at home that day and before I left for my airport duty, she decided to cook lunch for me – a simple meal of rajmah and rice.

Although it was a pretty standard feature in our home, there was something quite unique about the meal for me that day – maybe because she cooked it for me. We gave up eating rajmah after that. We haven’t had it in our house after that day.”

Her mother Asha continues with tears in her eyes, “After lunch, she told me she had made plans to go out, but she did not want to. So, she postporned her plans to the evening and we took a nap together. Relatives came calling in the evening and after a cup of tea, she got ready and left.”

A dreaded phone call

The first phone call that Badri Singh recalls receiving was from the police. “I had returned from work at it was around 10 pm. I came home and found out that she hadn’t returned. Like any other father, I was angry, but at the same time a little worried too. I got a call around 11 pm from the police and I was told that she had an accident and was at Safdarjung hospital.

I immediately took a friend and went there. I still remember, there were three lady doctors who asked me if I knew what happened. When I said that I was there to see my daughter who was involved in an accident, they told me it wasn’t an accident, but a case of rape. I felt like my whole world had collapsed around me. I did not know how to react – I was that taken aback.”

Everything was a whirlwind after that

Badriji recalls that even in the time of such personal tragedy, he operated on a sense of logic. “My immediate concern was whether she needed surgery. It took me a long time to reach the hospital and I was afraid that I was too late to sign the forms. What if something had happened to her simply because I was late?

I couldn’t bear it. I immediately signed the consent forms for her surgery.”

Sadly though, it was not enough to save her. “The doctor told me honestly that there was no hope. Everything that happened afterwards was just a whirlwind. We were always open and upfront about her story because we wanted those who did this to her to be brought to justice.

The media, the police and even the common man rose to our support and that has helped a little. But I know nothing can bring her back.”
Those last few moments

Their daughter’s last moments of consciousness were something Badriji cannot forget even to this day. “I was standing by her bed, and she opened her eyes and asked me, ‘Papaji aapne khaana khaaya’ (have you eaten). I said yes. Then she told me ‘Theek hai to aap so jaayiye (Ok, then please  go to sleep now). I patted her head and asked her to get some sleep and left the room.

A few moments later, the nurse came to us and told us that she was asking for her mother. Asha went in, but by then she had lost consciousness,” he says with a tinge of sadness. Ashaji though, is in tears by now. “That was the last time, she spoke to either of us,” she sighs tearfully.

Justice is served

Badriji reveals that he was extremely happy with the sentence that was served on the culprits. “I know they have been sentenced to be hung to death, but I think the true closure will happen only on the day they are actually hung for their crimes.

My only regret is that one of them has managed to evade the sentence, simply because he was a few years shy of the legal age. When that did not stop him from committing the crime, why is it stopping his punishment?” signs off the braveheart’s father. 

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Location: Tamil Nadu




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