The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paid, but not for parade
- Rape victim junks Digvijay claim, rises to Uma defence

Bhopal, Oct. 25: Jamnibai today confirmed chief minister Digvijay Singh’s claim that local BJP leaders gifted her a fixed deposit of Rs 1 lakh but denied it was to parade her at the Prime Minister’s rally.

“I was dying of hunger and nobody came forward. Bai (Bharti) came forward and helped me out. I would campaign for her and even contest elections if she wants me to,” said the rape victim, whose exhibition at Vajpayee’s public rally on Sunday had sparked a political turmoil in the state.

Digvijay had said yesterday that the BJP had opened a fixed deposit account of Rs 1 lakh in Jamnibai’s name a few days before she was paraded at the rally.

Jamnibai confirmed Digvijay’s statement but disagreed with his allegation that the fixed deposit was a “fit case of allurement” to ensure her presence at Vajpayee’s public meeting.

Bailing out a beleaguered Bharti, Jamnibai concurred with her stand that the move was a “spontaneous one” and, therefore, did not amount to violation of privacy.

She turned the heat back on the Congress, saying the party had asked her to change sides.

“On October 22, Lalit Sustani and Bapu Singh belonging to my community came to meet me and suggested that I call on Raja sahib (Digvijay). But I declined. When I needed help, the BJP helped me.”

Jamnibai said she failed to understand the fuss over her public appearance, saying everyone she knew was aware of her “humiliation” by goons, who, she claimed, continued to threaten her even a decade after the incident.

She denied knowledge of some women NGOs like the All India Women’s Conference approaching the national human rights and women’s commissions about the violation of her privacy and rights.

“I know just one thing. Where were these people when I stopped getting (the) state’s family pension and was on the verge of dying of hunger'” Jamnibai asked.

Congress leaders, taken aback by Jamnibai’s spirited defence of Bharti, alleged that she was being “tutored” by the BJP to say things that would help the party’s chief ministerial candidate tide over the controversy.

The Congress also claimed that Vajpayee was uncomfortable and upset over Bharti’s gesture to drive home the point that women were not safe in the Digvijay regime.

Waxing eloquent on Bharti’s kindness, Jamnibai said: “Bai met me during the rainy season. I cried and she told me not to cry. She said the people who have tortured you would cry in the long run.”

Subsequently, Jamnibai said, former BJP legislator Raghunandan Sharma met her and opened a fixed deposit account of Rs 1 lakh in her name.

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