Will the candlelight vigil before India Gate for the Delhi braveheart shed some light on the rapes that go unpunished in the hinterland?
Call her Damini or Nirbhaya or by any other name, but the Delhi gangrape victim outraged the conscience of the nation. A little over two months, a Hazaribagh rape death victim received a quiet cremation on Friday, her identity unknown and her assailants roaming free.
On February 2, the naked and bloated body of a 16-year-old was fished out from a well in Banahappa village, 15km from district headquarters. Her clothes were found dumped near the well.
Post-mortem report at sadar hospital confirmed she was raped, strangulated and dumped in the well. Medical examination established that, just like Damini who had bitten and kicked rapists, this girl also fought brave and hard to fight the assault.
As no one turned up to claim her body, the police handed it over to social worker Mohammad Khalid, founder of Murda Kalyan Samiti.
He waited for a week. The girl’s body was preserved in formalin to prevent it from getting decomposed and kept at a room in sadar hospital.
But time was running out. On Friday morning, the girl’s body was put in an ambulance and sent to Muktidham crematorium at Kheergaon in Hazaribagh. Samiti workers got flowers.
The body was cremated around noon. A donor came forward to pay Rs1,200 needed for wood and kerosene for her last rites.
Before her mortal remains consigned to flames, Khalid captured her mug shot on camera.
“I took a close up of her face for my records in the hope someday some relative will reach out. Then, this photograph will help in identification,” he added.
He added so far he had pictures of over three dozens of such unidentified girls.
“I live in hope. Umeed karta hoon koi to iska apna kahin to hoga jo aaj na kal aakar iski pehchaan karega (I hope she has someone near and dear who will come someday and identify her),” Khalid said.
A day after this unknown girl’s body was found, on February 3, Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, was promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee.
The ordinance provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act and Code of Criminal Procedure on laws related to sexual offences. The ordinance provides for death penalty in case of rape.
Does the so-called long arm of the law reach rapists outside city limits? Tell email@example.com