Acid attack victim Sonali Mukherjee, who had come to meet the rape survivor, in Gomia, Bokaro, on Thursday. (Pankaj Singh)
Bokaro, July 17: The 11-year-old Gulgulia rape survivor today left for Kasturba Gandhi residential school in Gomia block’s Sarhachia panchayat, 9km from her Swang village home and 64km from Bokaro steel city.
Hundreds came to see off the girl who was raped on July 7 by her neighbour and tribesman Nakabandi Pasi. She paid the price for her elder brother Harendra’s attempted molestation of Nakabandi’s wife, the brutal attack on the child sanctioned by community elders led by the woman’s father.
Some 10 days after she was attacked, the girl stepped into a new life today as she left her village home and entered a classroom.
Bokaro DC Uma Shankar Singh had directed Gomia block education officer Snehlata to escort the girl to the school. Snehlata reached Swang at 8.30am and hugged the girl, promising her that the school would not just educate her for free but give her food, clothes and complete security.
The girl, who was admitted to Class VI, the entry level of the Kasturba Gandhi school, has studied only in Class I and is barely literate. Teachers have been asked to coach her to help her be on a par.
The girl, overwhelmed with all the attention, cried and embraced North Swang panchayat mukhiya Vinod Kumar Vishwakarma, calling him bhaiya and promising to be home for Raksha Bandhan and tie him a rakhi.
Keenly aware that she was raped to avenge for her brother’s misconduct and that her bhaiya was in jail. Harendra, the girl’s brother, as well as the rapist Nakabandi, his wife Sukunda and father-in-law are all behind bars.
Acid attack victim Sonali Mukherjee who came to Swang from New Delhi after coming to know of the incident, asked the girl to face the world bravely.
“You are not the criminal,” Sonali told the girl. “Male chauvinism and perverted attitudes of a few persons led to this heinous crime bringing shame to society.”
Sonali also handed Vishwakarma a cheque of Rs 11,000 on behalf of NGO God is One for a literary drive for the Gulgulia tribe.
Around 11am, the girl reached her residential school where was taken straight to Class VI class and introduced by the teacher to the other students.
Bokaro district education officer Rajiv Lochan stressed on special classes and added her classmates had been told not to ask her any question regarding her ordeal.
Bokaro DC Uma Shankar Singh said a team of education officials would meet the girl in school to assess her development. “She will make a new life for herself,” Singh said.
Since the time the media broke the story of this socially sanctioned rape of the child last week, outrage against the crime spread from Gomia block to Bokaro district to Jharkhand and reached Rajya Sabha precincts, where members, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned it.
Ghoshal, Nakabandi, Harendra and Sukunda already arrested, the state government has promised a speedy trial.