|Nazia Afreen and (right) Poonam Kumari.
Picture by Deepak Kumar
The day a Delhi court convicted the four accused of the December 16 gang rape, Patna’s Nazia Afreen wanted rapists to be punished so severely that nobody dared to repeat the crime.
Nazia, an 18-year-old student of Rajkiya Mahila Mahavidyalaya in Gulzarbagh, is one of the two girls from Bihar who have been selected to speak at a programme at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The event, part of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals 2015 programme, is scheduled from September 18 to 28.
Poonam Kumari, a Class V student of Nari Gunjan School, is the other girl from Bihar to be selected for the event.
UN had last year conducted a survey under its Millennium Development Goals programme to know about the dream world of youngsters. They received a sample of 1 lakh from India, from which 11 respondents, including Nazia and Poonam, were selected.
In New York, Nazia would address the UN on “How should the world of youths be?” On Tuesday, before leaving for Delhi, Nazia and Poonam addressed mediapersons on their views on crime against women.
Nazia, a BA Part-I student, said: “I wonder why the government is so lenient with rapists. I want the government to punish them in such a manner so that no other person dares to repeat the crime.”
She said: “ I want to throw such rapists into the fire or let them live and punish them so severely that they would repent each and every moment of their lives.”
Stressing for freedom to girls for living life according to their wishes, she said: “Girls should have the freedom to wear what they want, eat what they want and freak out wherever they want. No one can set rules for them because women who wear sari are raped and toddlers are also raped. I do not want girls from the minority community to be bound by rules and regulations; they should not be differentiated against.”
Nazia, who aspires to become a social worker, added that she would also share on the UN platform her struggle in convincing her parents to let her pursue formal education and then continue it.
Poonam, the Class V student also on her way to New York with Nazia, said: “I come from a Dalit family and feel sad that very few people in the community are educated. Children between six and 14 years of age, who should be studying, pick up dirt or work in hotels.”
Poonam wants to become a teacher and serve her community. Both the girls are associated with social worker Sudha Verghese’s organisation Nari Gunjan.