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Could be Someone Else's Daughter Tomorrow, Don't Politicise The Horror: Father of Kathua Rape Victim

Just a day after leaving their house in Rasana, Kathua, News18 traced the family of the child to a small hamlet in Udhampur district’s Round Dhumel, more than 100 km away from the Jammu city.

Sheikh Saaliq | News18.com@sheikh_saaliq

Updated:April 14, 2018, 12:03 AM IST
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The father of Kathua rape and murder victim was supposed to take his daughter to a family function in coming days. For that he made sure to stitch wedding clothes for her. However, when the stitched clothes arrived for his daughter, she was no more.

“When people told me that my daughter was raped, my body turned numb. I could feel nothing,” said the 50-year-old father of the Kathua rape and murder victim, inconsolably.

Just a day after leaving their house in Rasana, Kathua, News18 traced the family of the child to a small hamlet in Udhampur district’s Round Dhumel, more than 100 km away from the Jammu city.

The family of the victim has been on the move with their livestock for last two days after the Crime Branch chargesheet revealed the gruesome details of the crime. Their house in Kathua remains locked.

But why did the family have to leave their house in Kathua in the first place?

“There was fear among all of us. The way some people tried to support the killers of my child, we felt very unsecure,” said the father.

Referring to the March 4 rally where members of Hindu Ekta Manch protested against the Crime Branch’s investigation the rape and murder case, the victim’s father said, “Those people tried to support the rapists. Nothing could be worse than that. The whole atmosphere changed after that.”

BJP ministers Chaudhary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga were present during the rally.

Talking to News18, the victim’s family also alleged that the plot could have been planned for few months.

“We (Gujjar community) are always a soft target. Earlier too, we were targeted for no reason. But I never thought they could do something like this. Today, it was my daughter, tomorrow it could be someone else’s,” he said.

The other reason for the family to leave their house in Kathua is their summer migration to the Valley. The family, who are from the nomadic Bakerwal community, have packed their belongings and livestock and are on a 800-km journey to Kargil where they will spend the summer.

“Our lives are now changed and we have to deal with this till our death. But I have to feed my family as well. Our empty stomachs won’t be filled with people’s promises,” the father said.

But the moving out of Kathua doesn’t mean they have stopped fighting for their daughter. Now that the matter is in the High Court, the family is hoping that the culprits won’t go unpunished.

The girl’s father hoped that the judiciary would provide justice to his daughter and set an example. “I have left it to Allah. I hope justice would be done. I hope this never happens to any child,” he said.

However, the main worry for him is that people might “hijack the issue for their own gains”.

Responding to Thursday night’s march by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at New Delhi’s India Gate, the father said that people shouldn’t the politicise the issue for their own gains.

“I don’t know about who protested yesterday and where it happened. I was just told in the morning that some politicians are seeking justice for my daughter. If that is the case, then there is nothing wrong in that. But please don’t use my daughter’s name to gain votes,” he urged.

Walking with his livestock over the mountains of Udhampur, his other family members right behind him, the father reflected on the painful times the family has been through.

“It took one terrible thing to change our lives,” the 50-year-old said.

The victim’s mother, who sat patiently and listened to what her husband said, held her other daughter tightly.

“Only beasts could do something like that. She was just a child. I feel as if it is a nightmare that continues to haunt me to this day,” she said.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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