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Asia

'Life hasn't changed much' for father of Nirbhaya

Last year a young woman was raped and tortured in New Delhi. Mass protests helped in changing the laws against rape to ensure justice for the victim, but for the victim's father, time seems to have come to a standstill.

How did the gang rape and murder of your daughter affect you?

Badri Singh Pandey: Life hasn't changed much since the incident last year. Our sadness should decrease as time goes by. Instead, we remember her more than ever. There's always someone crying at home. Everybody's upset and no one knows what to do. Nothing has changed; there is a lot of sadness in our lives. When you look at it from a distance, you may feel that things have become better, but it's a very difficult time for us. I can't put it in words. What should I say? How should I say it? Every time I talk about my daughter, I have tears in my eyes.

Did the outcome of the trial satisfy your sense of justice?

You can say that we have got justice, but we will get complete justice only the day the criminals are hanged. When I see them being hanged, only then will I be convinced. We are satisfied that the laws in this country were changed after the incident but until the sentence is carried out, I will not say that I have got justice.

Is your struggle still going on?

You can say that the struggle has just begun. We have filed a petition at the Supreme Court against the juvenile accused. A hearing has been scheduled for January 6. Let's see what happens. Crimes by juveniles are on the rise. The entire society may have to pay a price for this. That is why it is essential that we stop them right now.

You are trying to get the juvenile accused tried in a court for adults. Are you getting enough support?

People want the juvenile accused to be punished, but we will have to follow the court's orders. We will have to listen to what the court says. We know that something will happen, but we don't know exactly what.

When you look at how people came out and protested against the rape and murder, it seems like people's mentality is changing.

Indien/ Vergewaltigung/ Proteste

People around the world mourned the death of the victim, who many called 'Nirbhaya,' which means 'the fearless'

Yes there has been a change, when you look at the protests, but we can't protest all the time. People are still angry and several programs are being organized to commemorate the December 16 rape. People remember my daughter and the events that occurred that day. They won't forget but they can't protest forever. They have to go back to their own lives.

You had to make a huge personal sacrifice but do you think society has changed in the past year?

We can't say that these crimes will never happen. But yes, these criminals crossed all the limits of barbarism and that will probably not happen again. There are lesser instances of rape and the perpetrators are not so inhuman. But something or the other keeps happening. Earlier, only petty criminals were caught, you couldn't penalize powerful people. Now the law has changed, even powerful people are being caught. Ordinary citizens are now afraid of being punished if they do something wrong.

Do you think that the steps the government took after last year's incident are enough to ensure women's security?

No, these steps are not enough. The legal system needs to be changed. There are many cases which have been unresolved for several years. These people have been denied justice. In the case of rape and murder, trials should be conducted as soon as possible and within the time frame. This will help in changing people's mentality. If a trial lasts for six to ten years then you forget that there are many cases which no one knows about.

As a father, what is your advice to other parents, how can they ensure their children's safety?

Parents need to make their children understand that when they go out of their houses, they shouldn't do something which embarrasses their family. They should go out with an aim in mind and come back once the job is done. Parents should make their children understand that they shouldn't get into bad company and do something wrong.

The interview was conducted by Aamir Ansari

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