GURUGRAM: Among the thousands of people who took the Yellow and Violet lines of Metro on the morning of May 30 was a 19-year-old woman who was travelling with a dead eight-month-old baby in her arms.
The night before , she had been subjected to unimaginable barbarism. She was raped by three men – the driver and two “co-passengers” of a shared auto she had got into with her baby girl, as reported by TOI on June 6. She had then watched in horror as one of the men flung her baby on the median verge of a road in Gurugram’s Manesar, next to the spot where she was raped.
In a place so dark and desolate, there was no one to ask for help. It was past 2am when the men fled, and she waited till dawn, holding the motionless baby in her arms, before she got an auto to her in-laws’ place in Old Gurgaon. There, a doctor told her the child had died.
She didn’t believe him. Accompanied by her father-in-law, she set out for Tughlakabad in Delhi, where her parents live. They boarded a Metro and visited another doctor who also told her the baby had died. With the body in her arms, she returned to Gurugram, this time to file a police case. She got off at the MG Road station, where her husband and cops were waiting.
The bereaved mother and rape survivor, according to the FIR lodged at the Manesar police station is just 19 years old.
(Our report on June 6, based on police versions, had said the woman’s attackers had thrown the baby out of the auto. But as details began to emerge on Tuesday, and we spoke to the woman’s husband, accounts of cold-blooded brutality unfolded, far worse than what was initially believed).
Late evening on May 29, she had left in a huff for her in-laws’ place on Khandsa road in Old Gurgaon, taking her baby girl along with her, after a fight with her immediate neighbours. She hadn’t wanted to spend the night in the house, in a village near IMT Manesar, in such an acrimonious atmosphere as her husband was away for work.
On NH-8, she got a lift from a truck driver. But she got off minutes later as the man seemed heavily drunk and was harassing her. She then waved down a shared auto that was headed towards Gurugram. There were two men in the passenger seats. It had seemed like any other auto ride till the driver suddenly took a U-turn on the highway, before Kherki Daula toll plaza.
The two men in the passenger seat then started making sexual advances at her. The baby was crying but that only irritated them, made them more aggressive. “Some distance after taking the U-turn, the driver stopped the auto and said to one of the other men, ‘Hari, khaana la’ (Hari, bring food),” says the FIR, quoting the woman.
They then drove on to IMT Sector 8 where she was dragged out of the auto, to a vacant plot. One of the men had snatched her daughter away and covered the baby’s mouth with his palm to stop it from bawling. The men took turns to rape her here. Each time, one person held the baby. When they were ready to leave, one of the men threw the crying baby at the concrete median verge of the road. “I became numb from that point. All I remember is seeing my child’s head hitting the road divider,” the FIR says, quoting the 19-year-old.
With the baby in her arms, the woman walked down the road and reached a factory, Pencil Electro Ltd, where a guard asked her to wait till dawn and then helped got her escorted to an auto that took her to Khandsa road, where her in-laws lived. Her thoughts were fully centred on the condition of her baby, and she did not even mention what had happened to her to her family members till later in the day.
My heart cried on reading the horrific incident. May God give peace, strength and justice to the family. We desperately need strong measures to make our society safe for women.
She did not have a cellphone on her. Her husband came to know what had happened from his father after she reached their place. He went to the police, who told him to ask his wife to return immediately to Gurugram from Delhi with the child’s body. At MG Road station, SHO Narender Singh was present to escort her.
“My family has been shattered,” the woman’s husband told TOI on Tuesday. “I was mourning my daughter when my wife revealed about the gang rape. I want the police to make the arrests quickly.”