Mother of Kanjhawala victim struggling to make ends meet

- January 1, 2024
| By : Muhammad Tahir |

A year after Anjali was killed after being hit by a car and dragged for 12 kilometres in northwest Delhi, her family continues to fight for justice despite financial problems

STANDING STRONG: Anjali’s mother Rekha and grandmother Kanta are still grieving her death but are not giving up on their fight for justice

A year after 20-year-old Anjali, a resident of Karan Vihar, was horrifically killed when her scooty was allegedly hit by a car and dragged for 12 kilometres in outer Delhi’s Kanjhawala, her ailing mother, Rekha is looking for a job to manage a household that includes Anjali’s three younger siblings. 

Rekha, 39, undergoes dialysis of her kidney at the Maharaja Agrasen Hospital three times a week. Her medical condition has worsened after Anjali’s death and she has become more weak.

“I have been sick for around four years and unable to do any work. She was the bread-winner of the family. Our family was dependent on her income. Her death has impacted us adversely,” Rekha told Patriot.

Rekha’s family got Rs 10 lakh as compensation which has already been exhausted on her treatment. She wants a permanent solution. 

“We got 10 lakh rupees from the Delhi government but all the money has been spent on my treatment. I go for dialysis 2-3 days a week. Dialysis is free but the price of medicines is very high. I want a job for steady income. Manish Sisodia, who was the capital’s Deputy Chief Minister then, also visited us at that time and promised good education for my children but that promise remains unfulfilled,” said Rekha, who lost her husband a decade ago.

When Patriot visited Rekha’s home, we found the house was locked. No neighbour was ready to talk about them and people didn’t really know about the family’s new address.

VICTIM: Anjali was killed in a road accident on January 1 last year

Rekha, who used to live in Karan Vihar of Kirari Vidhan Sabha area, was forced to shift near her mother’s house in Mangolpuri after Anjali’s death. Her old home lay vacant till two months ago as no tenant was willing to shift there. 

The aggrieved mother recalled the incident, “That day, she said she would be returning late since she had to go for an event. I called her at around 10 pm and asked to her to buy carrot on her way back. When I called her again at 11 pm, her phone was switched off. Early next morning, the police came to my home and informed us about the incident, and asked us to come.”

Fight for justice

“She weighed around 40-45 kg but her body was reduced to 15 kg [after death]. There was no blood left in the body. All her body parts were damaged,” recalled Rekha, who also revealed that some local residents wanted the family to settle the matter with the accused.

“I haven’t faced any problem in the progress of the case but some locals wanted us to compromise and take the money offered. But I refused. I will fight for justice until my last breath,” Rekha said.

Rekha’s mother Kanta, who was sitting beside her, said, “How can we compromise? It will encourage others. I want no other girl to undergo this horror. I want them hanged to death.”

The last hearing was held on November 13 and the next hearing is scheduled for February 17. The five men undergoing trial — Deepak, Amit, Manoj, Krishan and Mithun — are still in jail.  Four of these had hit Anjali’s two-wheeler with their Maruti Suzuki Baleno car, and dragged her entangled body on the New Year’s Day in 2023. 

Kanta, 61, who lives in a very congested house with two other daughters, added, “The government promised many things at that time but they are yet to be fulfilled. They promised jobs and better education for children. But we are even struggling to get our children admitted to schools.

“I have to work at this age to support my daughter, but how long can I work? Rekha and I get widow’s pension, which supports us to some extent, but that’s not enough.”

LOCKED: No one wanted to shift in Anjali’s home till two months ago

Kanta was scared for the lives of Anjali and her kids and was instrumental in getting them shifted near her house.

“The children are very young and anything could have happened there. After Anjali’s death, when they came over to live with us for a while, someone stole all the belongings from their house.”

A day before her death, Anjali came to meet Kanta and promised to return the next day. 

The horrific incident brought back memories of Nirbhaya case which took place on December 16, 2012, when a 23-year-old girl was brutally assaulted and raped in a moving bus in south Delhi. A year ago, there was similar outrage, and hundreds of people protested carrying banners which read “Anjali ko insaaf do” (Give Anjali justice) but now everyone, except Anjali’s family, seem to have forgotten the case.

Political leaders reached Anjali’s house and made many promises. Union Home Minister Amit Shah directed Delhi Police Commissioner to conduct an inquiry in the case.

Swati Maliwal, Chairperson of the Delhi Women’s Commission (DCW), also took cognisance of the matter and issued a notice to the District Child Protection Officer (East) over this matter.

“We are receiving such types of cases on a daily basis. I don’t know when will this brutality against women and girls stop! We need to make our system more effective to deal with such cases,” Maliwal had said at the time.

Patriot reached out to DCW media in-charge Vandana Singh, but she did not respond.

National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma had also taken cognisance of the matter and written to the Commissioner of Police of Delhi to personally intervene in the matter, and ensure that strict action is taken against the accused.

Manak Chand, the lawyer representing the victim’s family in the case for road accident claim, told Patriot, “For criminal procedure, Delhi government has provided a special lawyer. I am handling road accident claim case in which the evidence has been completed. The second girl (Nidhi), who is an eyewitness and was with Anjali at that time, has not attended the court proceedings for the last two dates.”

A new judge has been appointed to the case. 

Chand informed that Rekha’s statement has been taken and chance of getting a claim will increase if Nidhi gives a statement. 

NEW HOME: The home where Rekha shifted after Anjali’s death. It is four kilometres from her mother’s home in Mangolpuri

Patriot also contacted the Sultanpuri Police Station, where the case is registered.

Investigating Officer of the case, Inspector Rishiraj told Patriot over phone, “The case is under trial. There is no bail, 302 charges have been imposed. We are trying our best to ensure punishment for the accused.”

When asked if there is any precaution for the upcoming New Year, Rishiraj said, “That was an [one-off] incident. Police were alert, and this time too we will stay alert. The main duty during the new year is to control the youth, who are out to enjoy.”

Women’s safety remains a concern in Delhi. The latest National Crime Record Bureau figures revealed that 14,158 cases of crimes against women came to light in Delhi in 2022, the highest among the metropolitan cities in Delhi.