Seeking justice for a 11-year-old girl’s death against all odds
Vol 1 | Issue 12
A relentless fight of a 29-year-old woman, seeking justice for her 11-year-old daughter who died after she was sodomised in her school in Kanpur on September 27, has inspired people of the city to join her and put up a united fight.
Sonu Singh Bhadauria, the mother of Divya, is the perfect example for a woman who would not surrender in her fight. For the school management tried to hush up the scandal by offering her a compensation of Rs five lakh. It was indeed a big amount for the woman who worked as a security guard in a mall for a monthly salary of Rs 3,000. Her husband, Hameer Singh is a truck driver, who is most of the time out of town.
She used to manage the family alone, living in a one-room rented home in Ganesh Nagar locality. But her life was shattered by Divya’s death. “The reason I am living now is to bring justice to my deceased daughter Divya. I would ensure she gets it,” says Sonu.
(L) Sonu Singh has exhibited remarkable courage in taking on the powers that be in her quest for justice (R) People of Kanpur came out into the streets in support of Sonu
Divya was brutally sodomised in the school premises. It was such a horrific act by some pervert that her large intestine had been damaged in the process. The girl died because the school management did not provide timely medical assistance and dumped her at her home.
Autopsy confirms that she died of profuse bleeding due to unnatural sex.
Wiping off her tears, Sonu says: “My girl was brutally killed. I will not let the perpetrators get away easily. I have met state governor BL Joshi, written to Chief Minister Mayawati and even to the President of India Pratibha Patil to intervene in the matter. I have asked all of them to hand over the case to CBI for transparent investigation.”
Her struggle for justice saw police officials threatening her and asking her to drop the case. Sub-inspector Shalini Shahai reportedly forced her to have a talk with the school management and also offered Rs five lakh for settling the matter. Police also mounted pressure on her to leave the city.
Later, police implicated a neighbour of Divya, Munna Singh Lodhi in the case and sent him to jail on charges of raping the minor girl. The police version was that Munna had raped Divya at her home on September 21, six days before the death of the girl, and gave her pills to stop the bleeding from her private parts.
Sonu rebuffed the version saying Divya was fine till the time she dropped her at the school gate on the fateful day. She staged a silent protest outside the Bhartiya Gyan Sthali, where the incident occurred, along with some supporters. Police resorted to cane charge on the crowd, which left many of the protestors injured. Police slapped serious charges under the criminal law amendment act (CLA) on the silent protestors to gag the public movement and even entered a college where the students were on a protest demanding arrest of the real culprits in the Divya case.
The incidents infuriated the people in Kanpur and they came to the roads to extend support to Divya’s mother. Social organizations staged over 300 demonstrations, took out many candle light marches, and organized street plays.
The National Commission for Women (NCW), Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) served notices to police officials, district administration for their shoddy handling of the case. Finally, prime suspect Piyush Verma was arrested after 17 days of the incident. State government had to hand-over the case to Crime Bureau-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) and DIG Prem Prakash was shunted out of the city.
Yet, Sonu Singh wants a CBI inquiry as she does not believe in any state investigation agency. With tears she says: I will continue the fight till the end.