Siliguri, Aug. 30: The fiancé of the girl gang-raped in Jalpaiguri on Tuesday is determined to marry her and is waiting anxiously for the tea garden worker’s daughter to come out of coma.
“I’m praying to God that she recovers fast so we can get married as planned. My parents support my decision,” said the resident of Bihar’s Nalanda district who works as a cook in Noida.
“I haven’t been able to eat or sleep properly these past three days. I often find myself sobbing while thinking of her sufferings but I tell myself I have to be strong to take care of her,” the young man said.
The couple, both domestic workers (she is not an office assistant as reported earlier) in Delhi and aged 22, had come to visit the girl’s family at a Jalpaiguri tea garden to plan their wedding, which was to take place in “two to three months”.
They had met three years ago while working in the same household in Noida.
“She was an ayah and I was the cook. We fell in love. Although she moved to another job after three months, we kept in touch. We recently decided to marry and had come home to fix the date,” the fiancé said.
On Tuesday evening, the girl accepted two bikers’ offer of a lift home from a market in the nearest town, Binnaguri, was taken to a deserted highway stretch and allegedly gang-raped.
She has not regained consciousness since the attack and lies in a coma in the critical care unit at North Bengal Medical College Hospital.
Hospital superintendent Sabyasachi Das attributed her condition to “a fall in oxygen supply to her brain”, probably as a result of the attackers’ attempt to strangle her.
“She was brought in a critical condition and there has been no improvement. She has multiple fractures in her ribs and chin, and small and big wounds all over her body,” Das said.
The couple had arrived in the tea estate on August 14.
They planned to leave for Nalanda “in a day or two” to meet the young man’s parents before returning to Delhi.
“We wanted to work in Delhi for two or three months and save enough for the wedding,” the fiancé sobbed. “I wish I had accompanied her to the market. But I’m sure she will recover and identify the culprits. They should be hanged.”
The girl is the eldest of three sisters and had gone to Delhi more than five years ago to supplement the family income, her father said.
“We are poor. I’m a tea garden worker and my wife is a homemaker. It’s difficult to sustain a family of five with my meagre earnings alone,” he said.
Her sister said she used to worry about her sibling’s safety in Delhi, given the capital’s record of crimes against women.
“But see how this has happened near our home. These vast stretches of forests and tea gardens are unsafe for us,” she said. “Ever since the incident, women here have been feeling afraid even to step out of their homes. It’s been three days and the culprits have yet not been arrested.”
Mohammed Aziz, a neighbour who claimed to have found the girl lying in the roadside bushes, was arrested yesterday.
Aziz had earlier said he was supposed to escort her home but had been late reaching the spot where she was waiting. The police have apparently found “gaps” in his account.