We are all in shock, it is too painful... the fight has just begun: Delhi gangrape victim's family

As her body was taken from the sitting room where she would often sit and read out to her mother, for the final journey to the Dwarka crematorium in the early hours of Sunday, the 23-year-old Delhi gangrape victim's mother collapsed. Her grief, which she had suppressed for the last fortnight, came pouring out. Wailing inconsolably, she fell unconscious four times, collapsing on the floor each time those around her managed to revive her.

Even as her husband and sons left with her daughter's body, some relatives had to rush her to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital. Doctors admitted her in the Intensive Critical Care Unit at around 6 am, where she remained, undergoing all kinds of investigations through the day, till she was discharged in the evening. She was diagnosed as suffering from "extreme psychological trauma".

Speaking to The Indian Express after performing the last rites, the victim's father said: "My wife had hardly eaten in the last two weeks. She was exhausted... I think she was not ready to face the shock of our daughter's death, despite doctors always telling us that she was serious. She cried intermittently all of Saturday, but it got worse on the flight back home."

Dr S P Barua, additional medical superintendent of DDU hospital, said: "She came to us in the morning in a very weak state, with a history of frequent blackouts over a short span of time. So we performed all tests to assess neurological and cardiac function, and regular blood works, and kept her under observation in the ICCU."

Earlier, senior doctors who had been treating the victim said her mother appeared to be "in denial". "She was fiercely protective of her, perhaps even more than the father. Even when the victim's statement was being taken, and authorities wanted it to be videographed, her mother refused, although we explained that it would help her daughter's case," said a doctor.

Other doctors said that even while discussing the victim's transfer to Singapore, when the family was being given an "accurate picture" of the seriousness of her condition, the mother's only question was "when" her daughter would recover.

"We are all in shock. Nobody can accept this news. My wife took it the hardest. It is too painful. I have not gone inside her room. She was born in this house. Her books, clothes they are all here. It is hard to believe I will never hear her voice again, she will never read books to me in English again," said the victim's father. As he attended to some phone calls through the day, his sons urged him to catch up on some sleep.

In the chaos, the family has not even managed to choose a picture of the victim to garland. A garland brought by somebody lies discarded in a corner. "It is too painful to look through her pictures," said the father.

The family, meanwhile, faced another problem as the entire neighbourhood came to know the identity of the gangrape victim.

"Till now, we had managed to keep the news relatively secret, and the few media channels which came here were turned away by some neighbours close to us. But when we arrived with my sister's body early morning on Sunday, there was such extensive security deployment..." said the victim's brother, adding that the streets outside were now blocked with curious neighbours. "We cannot even step out of the house. At this point, who wants to face the questions?" he said.

Security personnel continued to be deployed during the day as several VIPs, including Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, visited the family. "I am tired... I have not stepped out of my room. Some VIPs came, but my father attended to them," said the victim's brother.

Many neighbours turned up to pay their last respects too. "I live in the next street, and even I did not know the girl was from here. When I heard about it at around midnight, I was shocked," said a local resident.

"She was a paramedical student, but we all knew her as the local doctor. She was among the toppers of her school," said a close friend of the victim's brother.

The victim's family is slated to go to their native village in Ballia district on Monday, for at least ten days. "It is painful being in this house, there are too many memories, and we all want to get away now. We have to go to the village to complete other rituals," said her brother.

But they were yet to get confirmed train tickets on Sunday evening. "There were so many police officials and VIPs here. Now we will try and see if someone can help us get confirmed tickets for Monday," he added.

And when they return to Delhi, they will just have one goal. "The fight has just begun. We want all the accused hanged, and we will fight for that, till the end," said the brother.

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