Kolkata: The arrest of the prime accused in the Park Street rape triggered elation among the late rape victim’s family and supporters on Friday.
They wished the out-spoken anti-rape campaigner was alive to see the dramatic turn of events. “I feel bad that she is not here to see this. She had to go through a lot. But she never lost hope,” the woman’s former counsel Anirban Guha Thakurta told the media here.
Guha Thakurta said he had spoken to her family early on Friday morning.
“They are elated. They were waiting for the day,” he said, adding now everyone associated with the case is obligated to see through the legal proceedings and secure justice.
Angela, a relative of the deceased campaigner, hailed her fight-back spirit.
“Till the last moment, she wanted to fight back. She used to say that she had done nothing wrong, so ‘why should I fear anyone’,” Angela said.
The prime accused in the case was arrested by Kolkata Police from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad division on Friday.
The arrest comes four years after the incident. Kader Khan was arrested along with an accomplice, Ali.
The mother of two, who was coming out of a Park Street night-club was raped at gun-point inside a moving car and later thrown out of the vehicle in February 2012.
In March last year, she died of multiple organ failure after she was diagnosed with encephalitis.
From February 2012 till her death, the 40-year-old Anglo-Indian woman’s very visible fight for justice was punctuated with victim-shaming and slander by the West Bengal government.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s dubbing the incident as “fabricated” had evoked a huge public outcry and criticism, as if the trauma of the horrific incident was not enough.
Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar too had cast aspersions on her character, describing the incident to be a “sex deal gone wrong”.
The attack on the woman did not seem to cease. Later on, several of her Facebook photographs were morphed and splashed around social media. But the fire-brand campaigner refused to hide in the darkness.
She decided to go public about her ordeal and revealed her identity on television in June 2013 as she took on the state government in her search for women’s rights and the war against gender violence.
The single mother also dealt with more than her fair share of character assassinations. Instead of cowering, she walked with her head held high, amid comparisons with Nirbhaya and the bad victim versus good victim debate.
Unlike Nirbhaya, the Park street rape survivor had all the qualifications for being the proverbial bad girl.
She never finished college, was a smoker, used to drink and could not hold on to a regular job.
During numerous interactions with IANS, the survivor had fervently hoped justice would also prevail in her case as it did in the 2014 Mumbai gang rape incidents.
“It’s amazing that the verdict in the Mumbai case has come through. With prayers in my heart and hope… that is all that keeps me going,” the survivor had told IANS.