The parents of the December 16 gangrape victim on Thursday voiced their displeasure in no uncertain terms with the government naming the “one-stop” crisis centres for women ‘Sakhi’ instead of Nirbhaya, alleging it was a bid to erase the memory of their daughter from public discourse.
“Initially, the Women and Child Development Ministry had announced setting up one-stop crisis centres across the country and name them ‘Nirbhaya centres’. But as the project rolled out, they named them ‘Sakhi’. It’s not done!” said Asha Devi, mother of the victim.
“What happened with my daughter had sent a message to the society and government that crimes against women has crossed all boundaries and that we need to wake up and act. How can you just forget her,” she asked the government.
Nirbhaya centres, or Sakhi centres, are a one-stop crisis centre for women in distress and are funded by Union government. They are to be set up in all 640 districts and 20 additional locations across the country.
The programme to launch such centres was conceived as a tribute to the victim of the December 16, 2012 gang-rape case.
But Asha Devi alleged the government was trying to wipe off the account of their daughter’s sufferings. “Government and society can forget her, but how can I? Her face flashes before my eyes the moment I close them, and then I look deeper in her eyes and I could feel the pain she endured on that fateful night and I wake up with a soul-shattering chill.” The victim’s father, Badri Singh Pandey, rued that the Nirbhaya Fund, a corpus announced by Union government in 2013 budget, was not being “properly utilised” and that there still were several dark spots in the city, which needed to be lit.
“A substantial amount of Rs 500 crore from the Nirbhaya Fund is being used on installing CCTV cameras at railway stations, but that should have been done by the Railways. Tell me, how many victims of rape have been benefited by the fund,” he said.
The parents visited ‘Gandhi Samadhi’ on Thursday to remember their 23-year-old daughter, who died on December 29, 2012, at a hospital in Singapore where she was airlifted from Delhi.
Four of her six rapists have been lodged in jail as they have appealed against their death penalty. One committed suicide and another, a juvenile at the time of the crime, was released after spending three years at a correctional home.
According to Delhi Police statistics, 2,199 rape cases were registered in the capital in 2015 and till November 30 this year, 1,981 cases of rape have been reported.
As per National Crime Records Bureau, Delhi has highest rate of crimes against women among all cities in India. Last year, the total number of cases of crime against women in Delhi was 17,104.