By a Mother
I’ve heard that it’s Mother’s Day today, and that it’s being celebrated the world over.
But what about a mother who has to do the rounds of the police department to seek justice for her little girl? Is there a way for her to celebrate Mother's Day, when the criminal who ended her daughter's life roams freely? How does this mother keep her mad heart still, when her soul and body have been restlessly roaming the streets day and night?
I am requesting anyone and everyone who can, to help me, for a piece of my heart was ripped away.
My name is Rani, and I am the mother of Nivi*. Nivi isn't alive anymore, but I can still hear her voice. Sometimes, she screams: "Mother, please save me!" — those shrieks torture me at night; it seems like they live within my ears. I didn't hear those cries on her last night, but he must have — the monster who took away my 14-year-old daughter, raped and killed her.
My family and I have lived in Karwi for 20 years; we are tenants of Lakshmi Prasad Gupta, who also lives there and runs a grocery store along with his son Raja. I have four daughters and a son. On the night of 14 January 2017 — it is a date I will never forget — Nivi went missing. My husband and I work late into the night, washing vessels at wedding parties; that night too, we were doing the same. I had instructed the children to eat their food and go to bed. How was I to know this was a sleep from which Nivi would never awaken?
When we returned home that night, Nivi wasn’t there. My children told me that she’d gone to Lakshmi Prasad’s house to watch TV, which was something she did off and on although she never stayed so late. When I enquired, Raja told me that she hadn’t come there at all. I was a bit suspicious, and asked again, but he told me to go away. I spent the night hunting for Nivi... I couldn’t find her. In the wee hours of the morning, Raja barged into our house to tell us that Nivi had been found — she was dead, and her remains had been stuffed into a sack. I ran to the crossroads at the market (the spot where the sack had been discovered), but was told the police had already taken her away for the post-mortem. I went there and pleaded with them, ‘Please let me see my Nivi. Just one last time.’ I could see her legs dangling out of the sack — but I still couldn't believe this was my daughter.
It was. When they finally showed me Nivi's body, I was devastated. There were bite marks all over her body.
I knew in that instant that it was Raja who had done this.
What had she ever done to him, that he tortured her so? And what kind of a human being is he that he came to tell me (about her death) himself?
Since 14 January 2017, I have been trying to get a hearing from the police and authorities. I would leave my other children home and spend my days at the thana. I met the CO, I met the SP, I was practically living at the kotwali, but I would always be told the same thing, ‘Not today, come tomorrow’. Months went by like this.
It was then that I decided to seek the help of women’s rights organisations and journalists. Under pressure from them, the police finally took some action and arrested Raja, confirming my suspicions. His family started visiting me frequently after that (we had moved out of Lakshmi Prasad's house by then) — asking me to negotiate with them, take some money and drop the fight. But what would I do with money? I stayed firm, drawing courage from my conviction that what happened to my daughter should never happen to anyone else again.
Raja was released from jail, after only four months. They said he got out on bail, but shouldn’t he go through a trial, shouldn’t he be punished? And so I am back to doing my rounds of police stations once again.
I am also anxious now. If they can buy Raja’s freedom, maybe the family can do more. My family has no security, and when I go to work, I am always worried about my children back home. The police say Raja has endured the punishment he was meant to, but what does that mean? What kind of justice is this?
Nivi’s memories haunt me every second. She was an innocent little girl, always obedient. She was always good at her studies, but unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to send her to school after Class Two — it is something I regret. But for her life to be snuffed away so, who could’ve ever imagined that? A mother never can.
The criminal should pay for his crime, his sins. The law cannot fail us here. I know I can never get back my Nivi, but in her memory, I should be able to do at least this much — send her rapist, murderer to prison.
They tell me it’s Mother’s Day today. Would it be possible for a mother to have this wish fulfilled?
*Name changed to protect identity.
Note: Nivi was a 14-year-old resident of Bachran village in Karwi, Chitrakoot. On 14 January 2017, she was brutally raped and murdered. Her mother, Rani has been fighting for justice ever since. On 19 March 2018, Khabar Lahariya had organised a Bundelkhand Baithak, wherein public grievances were put forth to the locally elected representatives. Rani had appealed for her case at the baithak, but was told by the residing MLA. from Mau-Manikpur RK Patel that he can only adress wrongdoings that were committed since March 2017, ie when the BJP was voted into power in the state. Rani has since been compensated a sum of Rs 10 lakhs under the Rani Lakshmibai Mahila Samman Kosh.
You can read the Khabar Lahariya report here.
Updated Date: May 16, 2018 12:36 PM