He only has one regret: he could not cycle fast enough to save his cousin sister from the men who raped and murdered her. The 14-year-old girl was abducted before his eyes, barely 500 meters away from their home in Janti village in Haryana’s Sonepat district, on Thursday night.
Her last words are still echoing in his ears. “She told me ‘I know they are after me. Please save me. Tonight, one of us is going to die’. I told her everything will be okay, but she didn’t listen. She kept saying ‘bhaiya mujhe bacha lo’ (please save me). These were the last words I heard before I fell unconscious,” he said.
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They were on their way back home after visiting a Dussehra fair at Ashok Vihar. He and his sister were on a cycle, while the rest of their family members were walking some distance behind.
Some minutes earlier, he had picked up his cycle, parked near the bus stop, but they had continued to walk alongside their family members.
“There were plenty of people on the main road, so we thought it was safe to walk. On our way, we saw some men — one of them stays near our home — consuming alcohol inside a autorickshaw. We didn’t think much about that and kept walking,” he said.
The family then reached Janti Kalan road — a three-and-a-half kilometre stretch devoid of any street lights.
“She said she couldn’t walk as her legs were aching. We tried to halt a rickshaw, but it didn’t stop. I told her and my younger brother to get on the cycle. We started riding towards our house,” he said.
“But it was dark and I could only see things in the light of the trucks and vehicles that passed us by. Twice, I noticed the autorickshaw and the men in it, directly behind us. Both times, the vehicle took an U-turn,” he said.
They didn’t realise that the men had parked the autorickshaw in some dense bushes nearby, from where they attacked him.
“I tried to ride faster, but there was no time. They hit me with an iron rod and took her away. She kept screaming, ‘please save me’. They hit me again. My younger brother hid inside a nearby temple. I tried to get up, but they flashed a gun and a knife.”
The other family members, who were walking barely 500 metres behind, tried to chase the autorickshaw.
“ We ran behind the vehicle. I screamed and I called for help. But it was too late,” said the girl’s brother.
“I keep thinking about what I could have done differently. We tried everything, but still couldn’t save her,” he said.