Ten steps away from an unlit mud stove, an empty milk bottle has been discarded on the untiled courtyard floor. Residents of this house in Sisona village are seemingly unsure of its use. In an orange sari covering her face, a 30-year-old woman is putting out clothes to dry. She planned to go to work at a nearby brick kiln later in the day.
Less than two days ago, she was gangraped and her 14-day-old child died of head injuries.
On Monday night, she was returning home with two of her four children — the infant and a 3-year-old daughter — from her sister’s house when two men raped her in a private bus at Sheeshgarh bus stand, around 5 km from her village.
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On Tuesday, 35-year-old bus driver Rifaqat and 24-year-old helper Shiv Kumar were arrested on charges of rape and culpable homicide, while 22-year-old bus conductor Salman was nabbed for assisting in the crime, police said.
“They could have done whatever they wanted to me, but they killed my child. I gave every detail of what happened to the police. Just like I had told my husband,” she said.
According to the victim, she was thirsty and was offered something to drink by the accused in the bus around 8.30 pm. “A few minutes after I had some kind of a cold drink, my head started spinning and one of them took my 14-day-old child away. Two of them raped me and later handed over my son. I was still not completely conscious, but I noticed that he was not moving. I sat at the bus station with my son in my lap for a while,” she said.
“I did not know what had happened to him till some policemen approached me and asked me what the matter was. They took my son and told me he was dead,” the woman further said, while her husband stared outside, leaning against the panel of a broken door.
According to the post mortem report, the child died due to ante mortem injuries on the left side of his head, police said.
The couple work as daily wage labourers in brick kilns near the village, earning Rs 200 for each day of work.
“We lead a hand to mouth existence. Everytime we need money, we have to approach our relatives. I had gone to my sister’s place that day because we needed money. My son was not well,” she said.
Seconds later, the husband added, “Our fate is such that we do not have the luxury to grieve the loss of our son. We have three other children. If we do not go to work today, how will we feed our family?”