New Delhi: December 16, 2013 marks the first anniversary of the brutal gangrape and murderous assault on the 23-year-old physiotherapy student by six men inside a private bus on the roads of Delhi.
The inhuman torture meted out to the young girl jolted the conscience of the entire nation and even as she battled for life in the hospital, the streets of Delhi turned into a battlefield as people came out in large number to demand justice.
One year later, CNN-IBN spoke to the braveheart's parents to find out how they are carrying on with their fight to get justice for their beloved daughter.
Full transcript of CNN-IBN's Anubha Bhonsle interview with the braveheart's mother and father:
CNN-IBN: Media, interviews, 16 December! Is all of this troubling you?
Father: No, we are not sick of it all that. I'm only upset that they haven't hanged all the convicts.
CNN-IBN: How does your day pass, especially as December 16 approaches?
Father: We manage but if there is somebody for whom the days go by with great difficulty, it is her mother. I am a man. Even when I cry, I cry inside. But a mother's heart is such that she cannot weep inside. Until the tears come out, she won't get peace.
CNN-IBN: Everyone remembers 16 December and that incident. But your daughter lived on for many days and showed so much courage.
Mother: She was separated from us from that day itself. Even today I remember her voice, 'Mummy, I'll be back in 2-3 hours.'
CNN-IBN: Have you, can you come to terms with her loss?
Father: There is no question of coming to terms. How will it happen? Her voice rings in our head. I was at the door of the ICU on 25 December, she gestured at me, she was couldn't speak, as if to say, 'papa have you eaten'? I hadn't eaten. I lied to her and said, 'beta, I have eaten'. These are some of the memories that become more difficult to bear as time passes. Whenever I sit alone and think about it, I can't control my tears. It's like we haven't lost our daughter, we have also lost our self-confidence.
CNN-IBN: While she was admitted at the Safdarjung Hospital, within a couple of days people came out on the streets. At that time, did you have any idea about what was happening outside?
Mother: We didn't know anything. We could not even gather enough courage to go and file a complaint against the people who did that to her. We didn't tell anyone to go and arrest the rapists. We just stood near the ICU, waiting in hope that our daughter will come back to her senses. She never did.
CNN-IBN: Doctors at that time briefed the media and mentioned about her talking to you sometimes.
Mother: She had tears in her eyes, but she controlled herself even in that state. She kept telling me not to worry, and that she would get better. One day later, when she came back to her senses, she cried and said 'mummy unhone mujhe bahut maara' (mummy, they beat me up brutally).
CNN-IBN: It was so difficult to even hear the kind of pain she was subjected to, but your daughter was so brave.
Mother: At times, we couldn't control ourselves in front of her. We couldn't hold back the tears. She would hold me and kiss my hand to console me. She would ask me not to worry.
CNN-IBN: You have worked very hard to raise your children. You have 2 sons. She was your elder daughter. What dreams did you have for her?
Father: Whatever we did for our children, was our duty. We didn't do anything extra. As a father, I loved my daughter. I considered her a son. The sad part is, although four of the guilty have been sentenced to death, the juvenile is escaping punishment. It is hard for us to believe. Everyone in and around the world protested for justice. People stood by her against all odds. So many people were injured, but still no one turned their back. In such a situation one of the guilty is being spared because of being a juvenile.
CNN-IBN: Why is it important to you, that the juvenile gets the harshest of punishment?
Father: No one can forgive him. Not us, not you, not the people. This incident crossed all boundaries of tolerance. Had it been a petty issue, we can forget and forgive, but this is a crime, not a mistake. He is not worthy of forgiveness. Even god can't forgive him.
Mother: There were 6 of them. Not a single one had the humanity to stop the others from committing such a crime. She must have begged them to leave her, but they did not listen to her even once. We have one request to the court and that is to look at the crime the juvenile has committed, not his age.
CNN-IBN:: When you saw the anger among the public after this incident, did you think this will sustain?
Mother: Yes, we felt that it will continue. We also felt slightly relieved. We felt that somewhere humanity is still alive in the country. Like we could not forget the incident, others also did not forget the incident. Nirabhaya's sacrifice should not go waste.
CNN-IBN: What did you think affected the public that they felt so angry at this incident?
Father: Many incidents of rape happen. But the brutality in this case crossed all limits. People only know that she was raped. But no one knows that details. We don't want to tell that. When the protests were going on even then no one knew the details of the brutality. People came on the roads because they also felt that such incidents need to be stopped because other girls, too, go out. It can happen with anyone.
CNN-IBN: When do you miss her the most?
Mother:When she was leaving, she waved to be and said I will be back in 2 hours. That voice still lingers in my mind. I can never forget it.
CNN-IBN:When she used to talk to you, what were her plans? What did she want to become?
Mother: From a very early age, she wanted to become a doctor. We had faced a lot of difficulties. She wanted to take us out of this situation and also help others.
CNN-IBN: What would you like to tell other children, specially girls of your daughters age ?
Mother: If something happens with a girl, society says she cannot be married. I want to tell the women that they should refuse to be a part of the society which discriminates like this. If someone does anything indecent with a girl, others should help the girl instead of being bystanders or participants.
CNN-IBN: Do you feel angry that many people passed by when your daughter was lying and nobody stopped?
Mother: Yes. Nobody helped her and they did not inform anyone. I hate such people.
CNN-IBN:Do you think there has been an change after the incident?
Mother: A lot has changed. If change had not happened, the cases which are now coming to light would not have. People are not scared to report such incidents.
CNN-IBN:I spoke to many girls after this incident. They say they feel confident about raising their voice now.
Mother: Yes. They should not be ashamed. Those who carry out such crimes need to be ashamed. Till the time we don't oppose them, such incidents will continue. My daughter lost her life but she never surrendered. Many people said she should have called them brothers and begged them. Do you think she did not ask them to leave her? She fought till her last breath. It was tough. She could not move. She had difficulty in speaking. Yet she gave her statement. After the statements were recorded, she even said, 'Thank You Madam. Please ensure that I get justice'. So I will say that like people remembered it for one year, they should remember her always. Such incidents cannot be stopped but surely the numbers can be brought down.
CNN-IBN: What are your fondest memories of her? How do you remember her?
Father: When she was 8 years old, whenever I used to tell her, Beta ye kar dogi (my child, will you do this work?, she always used to nod. Tilt her head. I remember her face, her clothes and gestures.
Mother: I remember everything about her. She was never afraid of anything. She would never surrender to anything. She was a confident and a strong girl. We are proud of her. When she was born to us, we never knew what life had in store for her. The city where she spent most of her life, took her in the end.