November 5th, 2016
Originally Reported By Dilnawaz Pasha & Rachna Verma | News & Image Source: BBC
Broken in spirit, and denigrated in person from the brutal rape, Rajjo contemplated ending her life, but stopped at the sight of her three year old daughter. Rajjo, a widower, was one among the three women brutally raped and looted by unknown assailants on Tuesday. She lives with her daughter, brother, and father.
The BBC reports that, when visited, the brick kiln neighbourhood in Greater Noida Rajjo lives in bore no evidence, physical, emotional or otherwise that such a brutal act took place. Speaking with BBC, Rajjo showed neither tears nor weakness.
She said, “I tried to end my life. I even locked myself up in a room. But my brother stopped and assured me that I have my family’s support. If I am ready to carry the burden of this humiliation for the rest of my life, it is only for the sake of my daughter.”
Police say that the assailants claimed to be policemen and looted the houses of the workers and raped the women. Two of the three women were busy with household chores while the third, Hamsari was ill and lying down on the floor. She says, “After a hard day’s toil, we were ready to sleep, when close to midnight, some people came claiming to be policemen. They sent all the men outside on the pretext of searching them. But once outside, they tied them up, and assaulted us. They also took all our money, jewellery, and other items while leaving.”
Rajjo, like the other young girls, wanted to go to school, and live a better life. But poverty induced illiteracy, early marriage, and husband’s early demise forced her to start working as a manual labourer at the brick kiln to feed her family and thus continue to live in poverty. Although, she lives with her brother and father, she earns her livelihood and is independent.
She says, “I don’t know where these enemies came from. I know they will be punished by God one day. They locked everybody. I shouted, calling my brother’s name, to help me; but they had tied him up. While they were approaching me, I got hold of a stick and fought with them but I couldn’t fight long and they raped me. I want them to get caught. I want to punish them with my own hands. I wish nobody goes through what I have gone through. I couldn’t sleep last night. Every small sound woke me up. Now I will either kill or die, but will not let anyone do what those men did to me. I know someone will take care of my baby.”
The men too have accepted what has happened as fate. They said that they always thought they had nothing to lose or be stolen. They just wanted to earn and feed their families, and never expected that their wives, sisters, and daughters would be the victims of such a heinous crime. Despite all this, they go about their work, because earning their wage to survive each day is a bigger war than worrying about security. They don’t have access to support groups or activists. In spite of all this, they believe in and hope that they will see justice.
There are tens of hundreds of Rajjos and Hamsaris everyday. We see the same horrifying stories time and time again. We speak of stricter punishments and laws, but is that a solution in the long run? How can we really change the mindset of the people? How can we really make this a safer society for women, children, and men?
We request the community members to tweet @yadavakhilesh to take note of this incident.
Note: Names have been changed to protect the identities of the victims.