NEW DELHI: Her brutal gangrape and subsequent death had stirred the nation’s conscience. But more than a month after the horrific incident the 23- year- old girl, whose identity is protected under the law, is known only as Delhi’s ‘ gang rape victim’.
Her father Badri Nath Singh, however, is not happy with the term. “Stop calling her a gang rape victim,” Singh said while insisting that revealing her identity would be the best way to honour her memory.
“We are hurt when she is called a gangrape victim. Now she is the daughter of the nation as she awakened the nation’s conscience by showing exemplary courage. That’s why people poured out onto the streets to support her,” he said.
Addressing a press conference jointly with South Delhi Municipal Corporation ( SDMC) mayor Savita Gupta and Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta on Tuesday, Singh not only disclosed her name but also gave his consent for a proposed science museum to be named after her. He even gave an undertaking under Section 228( A) of the IPC to the mayor to this effect.
Called Braveheart ( followed by her name) Museum, it will come up in RK Puram, the mayor announced.
“An unused building in Sector 6 of RK Puram will be converted into a museum. Renovation work is currently under way and the museum will be up and running by March 31 this year. The SDMC is allocating a budget of ` 18- ` 20 crore for the project. We will keep unique things in this museum like life- size animals and antiques from other countries,” said Subhash Arya, leader of the House, SDMC.
The victim’s father also submitted a letter at the press conference expressing his gratitude to the SDMC. “ I am very happy that the SDMC wants to name the science museum after my brave daughter. Projecting her as a rape victim doesn’t do justice to the sacrifice she has made. The best tribute to her would be to give her respect as a braveheart which cannot be done if her name remains concealed,” he wrote in the letter.
He added: “ I have no objection if any institution bears her name.”
Section 228A of the IPC prohibits disclosure of a rape victim’s name. Its violation is punishable with two- year imprisonment and a fine.
However, the name can be revealed provided the family gives written consent.
Singh has been approaching many politicians requesting that an institution be named after his daughter to perpetuate her memory.
“Whosoever came to condole her death, I asked them to name an institution in her memory. I met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav and requested them to fulfil my wish. I want a hospital in her name in my village in Ballia,” said Singh.
Explaining his insistence on a hospital in her name, Singh said that his daughter was planning to pursue post- graduation in neurological physiotherapy before her life was tragically cut short but the brutes. She wanted to extend medical help to patients suffering from brain injury.
The girl’s brother said, “She always said that bad times should not deter us from taking proper steps for a better future. The way she fought back the rapists she will always be my ideal.”
The charge- sheet filed by the Delhi Police also mentioned that the victim fought back with the perpetrators, beat them, bit them and kicked them while trying to save her honour.
“ Everyone should know her name. She should get Ashok Chakra for her bravery,” he said while demanding death penalty for all the accused, including the juvenile. “ He treated my sister so brutally, yet he is a juvenile for the law. He should not be spared, he too should be hanged,” said the brother.
Meanwhile, the much- awaited trial in the case commenced in a Delhi court on Tuesday with the victim’s male friend identifying the five adult accused and the bus in which the girl was assaulted and raped.
The 28- year- old software engineer, who too was assaulted by the six alleged perpetrators as he tried to protect his friend, reached the court in a wheelchair to depose as a prosecution witness before the fast track court of additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna.
The crucial testimony lasted around two hours. Though he could not board the bus due to serious injuries in his leg, he identified the vehicle in no time. The inspection of the bus lasted around 10 minutes during which the defence lawyers were also permitted to examine it.
According to sources, victim’s friend also identified other evidence shown to him. The five accused — driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Singh — were also brought to the court to claim trial. On February 2, they had pleaded not guilty to the charges framed against them by the court.
Before she died on December 29, 2012 in a Singapore hospital, the victim had recorded her testimony before a magistrate.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has filed a supplementary chargesheet, including the postmortem report of the girl.
At a press meet on Tuesday, Singh disclosed his daughter’s name, as his son demanded death for juvenile accused.