They sat in the gallery of the Rajya Sabha and heard MPs referring again and again to the tragic story of their daughter, gang-raped three years ago and killed. Over the five hours that the House debated the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill 2015, MP after MP hailed the December 16 gang-rape victim as a “martyr”.
The mother sat unmoved, however. “The bill has been passed as expected,” she told The Indian Express later, “but my daughter has not been given justice”.
At 2 pm, when the Rajya Sabha assembled, they were in the visitors’ gallery, the mother in a grey saree and a black shawl, some activists with them. The gallery was unusually crowded, the audience changing now and then. The 20-odd schoolchildren she was initially surrounded with left within an hour, another group left within 20 minutes. The MPs too took short breaks after having delivered their speeches. But the mother remained seated throughout the debate, wearing headphones. She occasionally spoke to her companions. The family had a woman guard through the session.