Gang-rape victim cremated away from media glare
Amid outpouring of anger and grief in the country, the body of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim was flown to New Delhi from Singapore early on Sunday morning and cremated within hours.
The mortal remains of the gang-rape victim, who lost her brave battle for life in a Singapore hospital on Saturday, were consigned to flames in Delhi early on Sunday, away from public glare, shortly after her body was received by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the small hours.
The funeral pyre was lit by her sobbing father at a crematorium in Dwarka sub city after traumatized relatives and friends said their final prayers at a ritual at the house where the girl lived in south-west Delhi.
Singh and Ms. Gandhi waited at the Palam technical area of the IGI Airport where a special aircraft of Air India carrying the body of the girl as also her parents and two brothers taxied down the tarmac in heavy fog in a somber atmosphere, reflecting the national mood against the bestial attack on her two Sundays ago that ultimately claimed her life.
After the plane landed at IGI airport at around 3.30 a.m., Singh and Ms. Gandhi met the disconsolate parents and brothers of the paramedical student and commiserated 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 Dixit, 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. It was only late last night that police had approached the officials of a crematorium for an early morning cremation of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim.
The cremation plans were kept closely-guarded till the last moment as police apprehended a large gathering may cause law and order problems. Authorities also wanted the last rites to be performed at 6.30 a.m. but their plan did not materialize as Hindu traditions did not allow cremation before sunrise. At 7.30 a.m., the father of the victim lit the funeral pyre in the presence of her brothers, relatives and others.
Media was not allowed in the crematorium.
The girl, a physiotherapy student, was gang-raped and brutally assaulted allegedly by six men in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16th night. She died yesterday morning.
- Asian Tribune -