New Delhi, Sept. 11: The December 16 savagery has thrown two mothers on either side of a line they did not sear in the collective consciousness.
One mother says she is watching her son die every day without a fair trial. The other mother points out she lost her child in the most gruesome manner conceivable.
“Every day, I see my child being killed on TV. If this is what the people of India wanted, then why did the government start this trial? People were treating us like animals even before the case had begun. Could you have treated a rich man’s son accused of a similar crime like this?” asked the mother of Vinay Kumar, one of the four convicted in the gang rape and murder case.
She was in a dingy lane in Ravidass Camp in central Delhi. The slum of around 300 houses is a maze of muddy alleys, next to the Bijri Khan tomb, a monument from the Lodhi era.
The other mother is unshakeable on what she wants most in her life now. “I want all of them to hang. I want them to die,” she said.
“My daughter always had big ambitions. Of going abroad, earning money and to ensure that her father never had to work throughout his life. We sold land to educate her but all our dreams have been cut short,” said the mother of the victim.
A family’s life was cut short, too, at the cramped quarters of the Ravidass Camp, said Vinay’s mother. Vinay, who worked as a help at a local gym, was the only one among the accused who had completed school. During the trial, Vinay said he wanted to appear for a recruitment test conducted by the Indian Air Force.
“My son never had a chance in life. We were poor but he wanted to study. He has passed Class XII and was looking at applying to different colleges. He worked hard to provide for the family.
“I never had any complaints from the neighbours that he had teased them or done anything wrong. I don’t know how everything went so awry,” said his mother.
Both families seem to have lost the will to live but the mothers worry about what lies ahead for their other children.
Vinay’s mother spoke of her daughter, a 14-year-old who was burnt in a freak accident and carries a huge scar on one side of her face and lips. The mother wanted the daughter to get married to someone “who will care for her and not for her looks”.
“With the additional stigma of being Vinay’s sister, her chances of getting married have been snuffed out,” said her mother.
The word “burn” conjures up a searing image elsewhere. The victim’s father said outside the court that “the day reminds me of the moment when she said all of them (the accused) should be burnt”.
The victim’s mother, too, worries about her surviving children, especially the older son. “He has lost a year, and he was suffering. He stopped studying and didn’t appear for his engineering exams. He refused to take up the offers made by the government.
“He expressed his desire to be a pilot and requested Rahul Gandhi’s office to pave the way but nothing happened. Now he has joined a course in aerospace engineering in Bangalore, which was arranged by the government,” said the mother.
The 20-year-old was offered a seat in a university by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and admission in a government medical college. But the boy did not take them up.
Vinay’s mother said her son never had such options. “I wish my boy was given these chances. I wish he didn’t have to live on the street and fend for himself all his life. I wish he had sensible friends who could guide him, I wish I were literate, so that I could guide him,” she said.
“Every child becomes what he is because of the situations he faces in life. Instead of baying for blood, this society should understand that we too are human beings and we too should get a fair chance.
“Vinay was convicted and found guilty the moment he was arrested. Did anyone give him an outside chance to prove he was innocent?” she asked.