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World changed for us after Nirbhaya incident, says family of former police chief

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Quick action of Delhi Police led to nabbing of all the culprits within three days of the gruesome 'Nirbhaya' rape, but the world changed for us, recall the younger daughter and wife of former police chief Neeraj Kumar.

Talking to PTI, Ankita, now in her late 20s and a pianist by profession, says she was dumbfounded after her father briefly mentioned the gruesome rape of the physiotherapy intern on December 16, 2012. She says memories of that night sends shivers down her spine even today.

Expressing relief at the outcome of the case, Ankita and her mother, Mala Kumar, recall how the growing protests against Kumar had made them suggest that he resign.

"As pressure was building, I did not want him to go through the ordeal. I wanted him to quit because it was becoming too much for me to take. Everyone around me was changing, I was getting threat calls and someone said they wished me and my sister get raped too, to make the police wake up," Ankita reminisced.

Both mother and daughter were critical of press and said the media only wanted to carry anti-Neeraj Kumar stories and anything that did not pander to their rhetoric was never aired or written.

"One day, I was at my piano school located in the basement of my house and a journalist from a TV channel walked in with his camera and asked me to comment on the inefficient police headed by my father.

"I confronted him that he was in the basement of my house and he could easily harm me, and my father will only come to know once the damage has been done. I was trying to draw home a point, but probably he never understood," she says.

With four of the culprits finally hanged on Friday morning, the seven-year struggle for justice has finally ended.

"I realised that no matter how much good my father does, they will always be thankless. I wanted him to quit and lead a peaceful life but what amazed me was his confidence. He was just unshakable," Ankita says with a smile while sitting at the make-shift office of her father at their residence.

Hugging her father, Ankita says she was was totally wrong in asking him to quit.

"You know my father passed the trial by fire and his message to his critics was loud and clear that if you want to shoot someone, shoot me first," she said.

Neeraj Kumar, a 1976 batch IPS officer, laughs and says, "Yes, she wanted me to quit but my answer was simple. I am not a quitter, and she would not like to have a father who wages a war and leaves it midway."

Ankita says it was the society that failed Nirbhaya, and not the police. "See we still do not educate our children properly. Still in our country, women become easy targets," she says.

"I remember the attitude of my friends changing towards me. They started talking to me in a different tone and I almost felt as if we have done something wrong and we have failed them in some way," says Ankita, adding that she found it strange that people were directing their anger towards the police that had caught culprits within no time.

Mala Kumar, a theatre personality, chips in and says, "I agree that the incident was horrific but that did not stop anyone from seeing the positive side of the police and they viewed the whole thing negatively."

"As a family, it was a very hard time for us though I knew that nothing will deter him from his duty and he will pass with flying colours but the way people were after him, the politicians were after him..." says Mala.

She added that both her daughters had sleepless nights and it was a traumatic time but "I never saw him nervous or crestfallen. The best thing about him is that he is a man made of steel who does not hesitate a calling spade a spade.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 20 2020. 16:16 IST