‘Cheated, betrayed, wronged’: For family of Chhawla rape victim, wait for justice ends in despair

The Supreme Court’s decision to acquit three men sentenced to death in the 2012 Chhawla gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old woman drew a sharp reaction from her family, with her mother breaking down and father struggling to make sense of the judgement.

In a video following the SC order, the mother is seen crying. She says, “After 11 years, this is the verdict… We have lost. I was waiting for this verdict. Now, I feel I have no reason to live. I thought my daughter would get justice.”

She later said, “I feel we have been cheated and wronged. We waited years for justice for my daughter. I was hoping that the accused would be hanged. I couldn’t imagine they would roam free one day. My daughter was raped, they poured acid on her and mutilated her. I can’t even describe what happened… I want justice. I won’t stop fighting.”

The woman’s father, a security guard, said they are talking to the lawyers. “This all happened because we don’t have money. We are poor and that’s why we are suffering. The courts don’t care. We have been betrayed. I have not been able to work since the incident. I remember going with the police to see my daughter’s body. I couldn’t sleep for days. How can they be released?”

The three men – Rahul, Ravi and Vinod – were accused of abducting, raping, and brutally killing the woman in February 2012.

According to police, her mutilated body was found three days after she was abducted. The men had been handed the death penalty after a Delhi court found them guilty.

The woman worked in Gurgaon’s Cyber City area and hailed from Uttarakhand. She was returning home from her workplace, and was not far from her residence, when she was forced into a car. When she did not return home, her parents lodged a missing person report. Her mutilated and decomposing body was later found in Haryana’s Rewari village.

Police had found multiple injuries on her body, and investigation had revealed she had been attacked with car tools, glass bottles, metal objects, and other weapons. She was also raped, police had said.

Police had arrested the three men and alleged that one of them allegedly took revenge after the woman turned down his proposal.

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