For the elder sister of the Unnao rape survivor, days begin and end outside the trauma centre of Lucknow’s King George’s Medical College. Her younger sister, having survived an alleged gangrape by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, his brother Atul and their accomplices, is now critical after a truck collided with the car that she was travelling in on Sunday. The sisters’ aunts passed away in the accident and their lawyer is also battling for his life.
Speaking to The Wire, the 21-year-old woman shared her take on the battles that she and her family have been fighting since 2017 and on the ones still left to fight.
How did you come to learn of the Sunday incident?
Mahender Singh, our lawyer is also from Makhi village. His son came to our house at around 11 am on Sunday. He asked us exactly who from our family were in the car. I told him that my aunt, her sister and my sister were in it, along with his father. He said that the car met with an accident and that all of them were critical. We rushed from Unnao and on our way we got to know that my aunt and her sister had died, while our lawyer was critical.
When did you reach Lucknow?
At around 1 in the night. We were earlier told that my sister would recover soon but since yesterday her situation has been going from bad to worse.
You and your family have claimed that this is a conspiracy, why is that?
The entire village near Rae Bareli has witnessed this incident. All the villagers are openly saying that it was deliberate. They were threatening us on a regular basis to withdraw the case. They came to our house and said that they will wipe out our family. So they did. There is no doubt about it that it was Sengar and his men who have done this to us.
What are the doctors saying about your sister’s condition now?
She is still serious. Doctors are saying she is critical. We want justice. How can the government ignore all this patterned incidents?
What happens to your lives now that your aunt is dead?
Whatever my aunt earned here and there, she shared with us. Now that she is gone, there is no one to do the actual running around for us when it comes to the case. She used to talk to the lawyers as well, so we were dependent on her. Plus she earned a bit, so we were somehow going from one day to the other.
What they are trying to do is make us beg. They want us left without any money and with nothing to eat. No one talks to us, so we have no fallback option. They are just trying to kill every support system that we have. However, we will fight.
To all those unknown citizens who came to India Gate in solidarity with Unnao rape victims: she is not alone, thanks to you.
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) July 29, 2019
How do you plan to fight now?
First of all, we want our uncle to be released so he can be there when we can cremate our aunts. We have been requesting this to every person visiting us here but to no avail. We will not cremate our aunt unless my uncle has been released. We have no option.
How has the lawyer’s family been impacted?
The lawyer has a family of four and his parents. They are equally troubled. At this point everyone wants him to recover at the earliest. He knows every little detail about our case. His loss would hurt us very deeply. I want both my sister and our lawyer to respond and get out of the ICU soon.
Many people, in various political roles, have visited you since Tuesday morning. Do you think their visits might yield some results?
I don’t know. We have no income and nothing to eat. The house that we live in has broken walls and a broken roof. If things change at that level for us and we go on to live a normal, fearless life then I would say that today’s visitors have been considerate and have done us a huge favour. As of now, everything is grim.
In the capital city, there was a protest march. There is outrage on the internet. Do you think this will help your cause?
This is helping. The case has been registered [Sengar is among the 10 people named in an FIR registered on Monday in connection with the Sunday incident] probably due to these campaigns. However, we need justice and we need help to rebuild our life. We are all tired and helpless but we are not ready to quit.