Rahul Gandhi has been an angel to us, says gang rape victim's father

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi looked after the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim's family and helped them emotionally as well as financially, all without drawing attention to himself, the father of the woman dubbed 'Nirbhaya' by the media told news agency IANS.

Badrinath Singh, Nirbhaya's father, said many came to help the family initially after his daughter was murderously gang raped, but "it was Gandhi who stood by us always and had strictly told us to keep it a secret".

"The incident left a permanent scar but Gandhi came like an angel. Whatever the politics, he has been an angel to us," said Singh.

Nirbhaya, then 23, was raped and brutally assaulted on 16 December 2012, causing her death 13 days later.

"My son (he refused to name him) is now a pilot. He completed his training recently. He has joined IndiGo Airlines and is already flying planes. And it was possible because of Rahul Gandhi," said Singh, who works at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.

Singh added that he has no interest in politics and his acknowledgement of the Congress leader's support has no political agenda.

"The truth (that Rahul helped the family) remains the truth, and we cannot thank him enough ... he (Rahul) used to tell us he was not doing it for his politics. It was purely on a humanitarian basis. He used to tell us not to speak to the media," Singh said.

Nirbhaya's father said the Congress leader advised and encouraged his son regularly and motivated him to support his family. Another son is studying in Pune.

In an incident that shook the conscience of the nation, as Nirbhaya and her male friend were waiting at a bus stop in Munirka on that fateful day after watching a late night movie at a theatre there, when a chartered bus stopped by. The two were unsuspecting when the six inside, including a minor, offered them a ride.

The young woman's friend was knocked down with an iron rod while Nirbhaya was brutally raped by the five men and the teenaged youth on the moving bus. The two were flung bleeding by a roadside. The brutality of the rape and the woman's death in a Singapore hospital on 29 December sparked off nationwide protests.

The supreme court confirmed the death penalty for the rapists, in May this year, which had earlier been upheld by the Delhi High Court (See: SC upholds death for 16 Dec Delhi rape-murder convicts).

"The incident left a permanent scar but Gandhi came like an angel. Whatever the politics, but he has been an angel to us," said the father.

Asked if he had flown with his son, Singh said, "Not as of now. But maybe I will fly in the plane he pilots soon."