It’s the strangest of cases. Two girls of a Meerut locality publicly claimed earlier this month to have killed their father, though police insist it was an accident. In the curtain of silence being drawn around the case, lies a deeper secret. For years now, till his May 12 death, the 46-year-old daily wager allegedly raped his daughters.
Soon after the incident, and the girls’confession, their mother left home without informing them, only taking along their five-year-old brother.
In a 10×5 feet room that is their home, the two girls, 18 and 17, sit without even a fan in the boiling summer. Confused and traumatised, they remain unsure of what will happen to them now. A maternal uncle, who has no source of income himself, has moved in to look after them while a neighbour has been providing them food.
“But how long will she do that, I do not know,” points out the elder daughter, who does all the talking.
The uncle promises to provide for them as long as he can, adding, “Gharwalon ne ye keh kar bedakhal kar diya hai ki tumne bete ko mara. Ab ye kahan jaayen (The family members have disowned them saying they have killed their son. Where do these girls go now)?”
The uncle, who claims to know nothing of the girls being raped, was in Hamirpur (UP) when he heard about the death of his brother-in-law. “I rushed to Meerut and found out that the girls ‘had done something wrong’. Now I am here as their guardian. I do not know where my sister (the girls’ mother) has gone,” he says.
Police say what happened wasn’t murder but an accident where the 46-year-old came home drunk, stumbled, and hit his head against the floor. “There is no question of the girls being arrested. The postmortem report has confirmed that the man died due to a head injury,” says Ravindra Kumar Vashisht, the in-charge of the Medical police station, citing the statement recorded by the elder daughter.
Asked why the two sisters had confessed, the police officer said, “The case is being investigated and the truth will come out.”
Neighbours willing to talk about the girls say they have had a tough life. They studied only till Class I as their parents, both labourers, never had enough money. The neighbours also testify to daily fights at their home, with the father coming home drunk and beating up their mother.
The girls say they turned to their mother for help to prevent the sexual assaults, which allegedly happened in front of her in that small room, but that she could do nothing.
It never occurred to them to seek help outside, the girls say.
A woman who lives in the room next to theirs says, “Jhagda roz hota tha, lekin band kamre mein kya hota tha, ye kise pata (There used to be daily fights, but who can tell what happens behind closed doors)?”
On May 12, the girls say, their father came home drunk again, but they retaliated, beating him till he finally collapsed. “Bahut dinon se aisa chal raha tha. Hum kab tak sehte (This (the assaults) was happening for days. How long could we have tolerated)?” says the elder sister. The girls went straight to the Medical police station located nearby first and “confessed”. But police, citing a statement that they recorded later, said the 47-year-old had tripped, with his head hitting the wall and resulting in death.
While the matter may have remained unknown, the girls, with their faces covered with scarves, later appeared on local media channels and claimed to have killed their father. As the “confession” went viral, police released the statement recorded by the elder girl about their father dying in an accident.
Says a policeman, “Whatever has been done was in the best interest of the two girls. They are already living a hellish life and things would have been worse had they been sent to jail.”