Father remembers last meeting with daughter (Two months after Dec 16 gang-rape)

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) His face has lined overnight and he looks haggard, but he keeps a brave front before his family. The facade however shatters when he recalls his last meeting with his 23-year-old daughter, who was brutally gang-raped on a cold December night here.

Tears are not far off and they fall freely.

"I clearly remember our last meeting. She was lying on the (Safdarjung) Hospital bed. She gestured me to come near and asked me whether I had eaten. When I nodded, she told me to sleep. She then held my hand and kissed it," the distraught father of the dead trainee physiotherapist told IANS.

"I can never forget that moment because it was the last time I got a chance to talk to her.

"Then her condition worsened, and she was later on the same day flown to Singapore. I never got a chance again," he said as tears rolled down his cheeks.

Sitting in his modest two-bedroom house in southwest Delhi, the 53-year-old, throughout his interaction with IANS, kept his eyes fixed on the photograph of his daughter, who died in a Singapore hospital Dec 29 last year, 13 days after she was gang-raped in a moving bus.

Life for the family has come to a standstill. But the father now hopes for justice.

"I want the six rapists to hang. Nothing less will be acceptable," he told IANS.

The unplastered brick house, in which they has been living for 25 years since he left his hometown in Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, seems empty to them, as the young woman, who was a first-born, is no more to light up their lives.

"Oh God! Why did I ever come to Delhi?" said the teary-eyed father, who works as a porter at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Recalling the fateful day on Dec 16 night, he said he sensed something was wrong when he found his daughter had switched off her mobile phone.

"She had cooked food for us. After lunch, I left for work. She also left and told her mother that she will be back by evening. When she did not return by 8 p.m., we got worried.

"But after 9 p.m. when we found her mobile was switched off, we felt something wrong had happened because she never used to do that. As soon as I returned home at night, I received a call from Safdarjang Hospital regarding the incident," he said.

Looking at his daughter's 15x15 inch photograph, which has been placed on a table on one side of the house, he said despite several problems in their life, he was always hopeful about his family's future.

"But now I'm a broken man," he said. His two sons are both studying.

He described his daughter as a bright and intelligent girl.

"She always stood first or second in class. She was very studious. She wanted to do master's in physiotherapy after clearing her bachelor in January," he added.

Even while she was studying, she worked at a call centre during nights so that she could earn extra money for her studies, he added.

"Except her college fees, I only used to send her one or two thousand rupees whenever she demanded in her four-year physiotherapy course," the father added.

Even while studying in school, she used to take tuitions.

He blames himself for his daughter's fate.

"'Mere hi kisi galti ki saja meri beti ko mil gai' ('My daughter had to meet this fate due to some fault of mine')," he told IANS during the hour-long interaction.

The sheer brutality of the gang-rape shocked the nation. The woman was raped by five men and a juvenile in a private bus who then threw her and her male friend on the road -- bloodied and without clothes after nearly an-hour long ordeal.

She became a rallying point in Delhi and elsewhere as protesters demanded strong anti-rape laws. The spontaneous protests forced the government to take several steps.

"The six should feel the pain and the anguish. They should realise what they have done to us and her," he cried in anguish.

A fast track court is hearing the case. One of the accused includes a boy, who, according to the law, cannot be tried for the crime.

"My daughter awakened not only India but the whole world. I will feel proud if a law is made on her name," he said.

He said his daughter once fell seriously ill as an infant.

"At that time, I managed to save her, but this time, I couldn't," he said.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at rajnish.k@ians.in)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »