Did your sister ever speak to you about the rape?
I never asked her anything. I only saw what was written in the papers that she would submit to the court and to various administrative officials. She was fearless and wanted to fight it alone. So even though I accompanied her to various places that she submitted her complaint to (including the SSP in Rae Bareli), she would go into their offices alone. She would say to me that she was tainted, why must I be associated with that.
Were you scared after the accused came out on bail?
After Shivam came out, he openly threatened us. “Now you wait and see what I will do,” he shouted in front of our house. [His] family took away some clothes that we had left out for drying to perform black magic on them. There was a fake case of loot lodged against my father, uncles and brothers. The pradhan’s (village chief’s) men had earlier entered our home and beat us up. We always knew we were in danger.
Did your sister want to marry Shivam?
We are low-caste people. We know our reality. Why would we have wishes that we know can never come true?
What dreams did your sister have?
She wanted to join the police. But when she started to pursue her case, she became interested in law. Her lawyer suggested that she study it. She was far brighter than me. Who knows what she could have become?
Do you think you could have done anything differently?
That morning when she left home, I told her I was unwell and that she should go alone. Maybe, if I was with her nothing would have happened. I failed her. She was set on fire before 5am, yet I got to see her only after 3pm as the police vehicle that was taking us to Lucknow broke down. I got no time with her.
The administration has made many promises to your family including two homes, a job, an arms licence and monetary compensation. Why are you insisting that you must meet the chief minister?
The accused are close to the BJP. We had tried to seek help from Hriday Narayan Dikshit (speaker of the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly and MLA from Bhagwantnagar in Unnao), but got nothing. What guarantee is there that we will get justice from this government? We want to meet the CM to ask for justice. If justice is not possible, we will immolate ourselves.