As Opposition parties targeted the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday — a day after the death of a 23-year-old woman from Unnao district who was set on fire by five men, including two who were accused of raping her — the victim’s father demanded justice “like the Hyderabad encounter”.
“My only demand is that my daughter’s killers should be chased and shot dead, like it happened in Hyderabad,” he said. “They should not come out of jail. I want them dead… Only then will her soul find peace. They (the accused) are powerful people, we won’t be safe if they are out of prison. They killed my daughter, and they can kill us too. I want them killed in an encounter,” he said.
“They say they will me give me a house, Rs 25 lakh cash… What will I do with that? Even if you give me a palace, or an entire colony, it is not going to bring back my daughter. She is gone, and is never coming back. They should have shown this concern when we actually needed it,” he said.
Following a post-mortem examination, the victim’s body was brought from New Delhi to her village in Unnao by road on Saturday night. The last rites are likely to be carried out on Sunday morning.
A graduate, the 23-year-old was the youngest of seven siblings — five sisters and two brothers. “She had a sharp mind and was very talented. She wanted to see justice done, and that is why, soon after her graduation, she told us that she wanted to join the police. She applied for recruitment of police sub-inspector, but the exam first got cancelled, and, in her second attempt, the bus to Lucknow got delayed and she missed her written exam,” said the father.
“She then started reading books on law, deciding that it would be better to be a lawyer than to join the police force… She wanted to study more… She was preparing to become a lawyer,” he said.
“She was also physically strong… If she had been attacked by one or two persons, she would have overpowered them,” he said. “Police officers told us that even after she was set on fire, she managed to run for over 1,500 metres. She was the one who called the police, borrowing a phone from a passer-by,” he said.
“We always thought that she would be the one to lift us out of this poverty,” said the father.
Till yesterday, the family had only one light bulb in their house, as they couldn’t afford more. On Friday, the local administration provided wires and bulbs.
The woman suffered more than 90 per cent burns after she was set on fire early Thursday morning. She was airlifted to Delhi, where she died on Friday night.
All the five accused have been arrested.
“She was like my daughter. We came to know about her relationship with one of the accused, but we were not concerned… But later, she started telling me about how he was using her and refusing to marry her. When we went to the pradhan, he said how can a woman of a lower caste and economic background marry him,” said the woman’s sister-in-law.
“The trauma began when she started putting pressure on him to marry her. The family members of the accused would often come and threaten us. At one time, my father-in-law used to campaign for the pradhan… But all this changed,” she said.
Around 8 pm, the house is filled with relatives, and the family starts worrying about dinner arrangements. But they can’t ask anyone in the village for help. “We have become the pradhan’s enemies, so we are alone. The whole village already disliked us… If we ask them to help us with dinner, they will refuse,” said the sister-in-law.