His name is Badri Singh and he is the father of the Delhi gangrape victim. He can bring himself to reveal his daughter’s identity only if the new tougher rape laws being mooted are named after her. When Outlook spoke to him, he had gone to his village in Ballia, eastern Uttar Pradesh, to perform the rituals after his daughter’s death and mourn her. He expects the chief minister of UP, Akhilesh Yadav, to visit the village in the coming days, after which he will return to his home in Delhi and attempt to come to grips with the reality of losing his child. He was willing to open up to Chandrani Banerjee, but was overcome by grief and broke down towards the end of the conversation.
What was the reaction of your daughter on that night when you met her at Safdarjung Hospital?
I met her on that ill-fated night after I reached the hospital. It was just a brief meeting. We got to spend very little time with her before they came to take her to the operation theatre. She was crying and asked me, ‘Papa yeh kya ho gaya?’ I consoled her and told her, ‘Sab theek ho jayega.’ After this brief conversation, the doctors took her to the OT.
What happened when you met her after the operation?
She was in a much better condition healthwise. She talked to her mother at length. When I went in to see her, she smiled and inquired about whether I had eaten or not. She said, “Kuchh kha lijiye aur thoda so lijiye.” She wanted to go home. She asked me to check with the doctors about how long they will take to discharge her.
How did you receive the news? Did someone call you or did the police come to your home?
I received a call from Safdarjung Hospital. I don’t know who called me. Someone called me and said, “Aapki beti ka accident ho gaya hai, jaldi aa jaiye.”
After the first operation, she was doing fine. Did you have an idea that her health was deteriorating?
Yes!! I could see that she was slowly giving up her fight. I realised that the doctors were finding it difficult to save her.
Did you know that she would be flown to Singapore?
A team of medical experts had told me that she would need to be flown out of the country to receive better treatment, but I had not been told about Singapore. I signed the consent papers since I wanted her to receive the best treatment.
What about passports?
Before we could realise, everything was ready. The passports were ready within three hours. We went home to pick up some clothes and then went onboard to travel. My younger son, who is in class 10, was there. My elder son and my wife were with me. We were very hopeful that the situation would improve, but all efforts were in vain.
What was her condition on the day she was flown to Singapore?
I told you. She was serious. All of us wanted her to regain consciousness, but that never happened.
It is rumoured that she expired before she was flown out to Singapore. Your views?
I have worked as a guard with Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital in Delhi for four years. I have been posted in the icu all this while. I have a pretty good idea about the equipment used in an icu and the condition of a patient. I know that my daughter was alive when she was flown out of the country. She was ‘unconscious’ and never regained consciousness during the trip, nor as she received treatment abroad.
Why did the cremation take place so early in the morning in secrecy?
My wife’s failing health was a compulsion. She was taken to the hospital. Any delays in cremation could have negatively contributed to her health. So we all decided to do it early and then come to our village to perform the rituals and observe the 13 days of mourning.
Do you want the world to know more about your daughter? Did you give permission to the British media to publish her name?
I want her name to be made public only if the rape law is named after her. I have given conditional permission that if the government is planning to name the law after her, I have no issue.
Do you agree with Shashi Tharoor’s (the MoS HRD tweeted that the revised rape law to be named after the victim) view that the law should be named after your daughter?
I would be glad if they do name the law after her. Of course, I support the minister’s view.
The prime minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were at igi airport to receive you when you returned to the capital with your daughter. What did they say?
It was a painful moment for me. Sonia Gandhi said she was sorry my daughter could not be saved. She had tears in her eyes. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told me that he was with me in this hour of crisis. That he understood the pain and vacuum created in my life.
Do you know about the planned visit of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to your village?
Yes, I have been told that the chief minister is going to come here for the Terhvi (the 13th day of mourning and performing rituals). I have also heard about his announcements (the UP CM has announced a financial help package of `20 lakh to the family).
What are your expectations from the chief minister of UP?
I want him to build a school and a hospital in the village and name them after my daughter. She will be alive that way. Everyone will take her name everyday. It is all very painful to recall. I cannot explain the feeling and pain behind all this. I ask that you end the interview (starts weeping).