Her poverty, not son's fate, on the mind of Dec 16 juvenile's mother

Delhi gabgrapeThe mother of the juvenile accused in the Delhi gangrape case in her village on Tuesday.

On a winter morning last December, a sleepy Uttar Pradesh village woke up to police vehicles in its lanes, asking for the address of a boy no one knew.

Hours later, when the police began searching for the boy's father, they were led to a half-brick, half-plastic structure at the end of the village. The father, mentally unstable for the last 5-6 years, could not comprehend what the police were telling him.

December 16 gangrape case: Verdict involving juvenile deferred

The police then turned to the mother and told her that her eldest son had been arrested in the murder and gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi.

Almost nine months later, news reached the mother Monday evening that the Juvenile Justice Board would decide the fate of her son on August 31.

"I cannot go. I don't have money and I don't know anyone in Delhi," the mother said when asked if she was planning to be in Delhi on the day of the verdict. She clutched her sides as she spoke. It was the end of a long day. She had had half a roti with some tea on Sunday morning, and nothing since then.

"There is not a morsel at home. I did not find any work today and don't know where the next meal is going to come from," she said.

A farm labourer, the wife of a mentally ill man and the mother of six, she finds it hard to get work these days. "I mostly get work in the harvest season. There is not much scope for farm labour for the next few months and I have so many mouths to feed," she said.

Their monthly BPL ration — 15 kg of wheat and 20 kg of rice —is exhausted within a fortnight, leaving them to struggle for a meal for the rest of the month, she says.

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