FOR THE family of Preeti Rathi, her trip to Mumbai for her first job was filled with aspirations.
“She had worked hard in her nursing course and then in getting selected for a job with the Ministry of Defence. We were very proud of her and had hoped it would bring about a change in our lives too,” said Amar Singh, Preeti’s father.
Singh had accompanied Preeti to Mumbai on the day of the incident and till a month later, as she lay suffering in pain, he kept seeking to know who had such hatred for his daughter. “Her life, her dreams and ours, were all cut short,” he says.
On Tuesday, seated at one of the front seats in the courtroom, Singh was initially reluctant to speak after the verdict, waiting to hear the court’s quantum of punishment for Panwar.
“We feel she will rest in peace only after he has been given the death penalty,” said Preeti’s younger brother Hitesh, who had travelled with Singh from Delhi. Since Preeti’s death, Singh has retired as a foreman in Bhakra Beas Management Board. Preeti’s two siblings, younger brother Hitesh and sister Tanu, are both applying for government jobs. Hitesh says the family is now surviving on Singh’s pension.
Singh, who has been diagnosed with tumour on his neck, is currently undergoing treatment in Chandigarh. “My father keeps saying she would have taken care of the treatment for him given her background. Even when she was coming to Mumbai, she wanted to ensure she studies more and is promoted to rank of a doctor. She was excited about her new job in Mumbai,” Hitesh said.
Hitesh said while they had informed the rest of the family, which had not come to Mumbai for the verdict, they are waiting for the maximum punishment to be awarded to Ankur Panwar. “He was among us, living scot free so many months after her death. We hope he suffers as much as my sister did,” he said.