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Quiet funeral for Indian rape victim
Publication Date : 31-12-2012
The mortal remains of the gangrape victim, who lost her brave battle for life in a Singapore hospital last Saturday were consigned to flames here in the capital yesterday away from public glare, even as a beleaguered Manmohan Singh government turned Delhi into a fortress.
The funeral pyre was lit by her sobbing father at a crematorium in Dwarka after traumatised relatives and friends said their final prayers at a ritual at the house where the girl lived in southwest Delhi.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were present at the IGI Airport when the special aircraft carrying the mortal remains of the girl, as also her parents and family members, landed at the IGI airport at around 3:30am and commiserated with her family in their grief.
Amidst heavy deployment of Delhi Police, BSF and Rapid Action Force personnel in riot gear, the body was then taken to the house where the girl lived, and rituals were performed before being taken to the crematorium at Dwarka Sector 24.
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, minister of state for home affairs R P N Singh, West Delhi MP Mahabal Mishra, Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta were also present at the cremation from which the media was kept out. The cremation plans were kept closely-guarded till the last moment as police apprehended a large gathering may cause law and order problems.
The authorities also wanted the last rites to be performed at 6:30am but their plan did not materialise as Hindu traditions did not allow cremation before sunrise. At 7:30am, the father of the victim lit the funeral pyre in the presence of her brothers, relatives and others. A senior police official said the security arrangements at the funeral were made to ensure that the exercise takes place peacefully.
Police had approached the government yesterday and proposed that the body be taken directly to Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, the girl's native place, via Lucknow or Varanasi but the government decided against it, sources said.
Notwithstanding efforts to cordon off the city, an estimated 3,000 people gathered at Jantar Mantar, police headquarters and other locations.
Delhi police, wary of the reaction to the news of her death, deployed 8,000 policemen and anti-riot personnel, closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the heart of New Delhi.
Protesters, who have called for a Bharat Bandh on January 3, rallied peacefully, braving the unprecedented restrictions clamped on their movement.
“This year I am not going to celebrate New Year’s Day or Republic Day,” said 48-year Anand Datwani, a New Delhi resident. A woman protester said that if the government clamped such restrictions, they will be compelled to boycott next month’s Republic Day celebration.
Protesters sat in small groups in Jantar Mantar and other locations holding placards and shouting slogans like "We Want Justice" and "Justice Delayed Means Justice Denied". “Nothing will be acceptable less then the capital punishment for the accused,” said Gyasuddin Khan, a student.