news Friday, July 31, 2015 - 05:30
  December 5, 2013 was like every other day for Alia,* who lived in Ergatla village in Nizamabad district of Telangana. She lived with her mother and grandparents. Her father had passed away when she was very young. Then 15, Alia had gone to a mosque after school. That was when it happened – five men cornered her and took turns raping her for hours before they let her go. When he returned home from work that night, Shahid* found his daughter and Alia in tears. “They told me everything that happened and I buckled up and decided it to fight it the legal way and go file a police complaint,” he told The News Minute. For over one-an-a-half years, Shahid has been visiting government offices to get ex-gratia compensation from the Minority welfare department office. As far as justice against the alleged rapists is concerned, he has given up. “Initially I had received threats from the boys as two of them come from an influential family. I paid no heed and registered a police complaint. They spent some time in jail and were released on bail soon,” he says. Shahid is a daily wage worker and does any work that comes his way. The only earning member of his family, Shahid hopes that the promised rehabilitation through as he isn’t getting any younger. If it comes through, the family will get Rs 2 lakh along with a job for Alia's mother and a house for the family to move into. “I roamed around at the rural level (of administration) for some time and realized that my paper work will never get anywhere. So, I went straight to the Collector’s office in May last year, who requested the minorities welfare department to look into it," Shahid adds. After the collectors request, On November 27, 2014, almost a year after the incident, minority welfare department director M J Akbar replied that there were no such rules for ex-gratia for minorities in the state, a report in Deccan Chronicle states. However, after continuous pleas to higher ups, the minority welfare department in January this year, told Shahid that there were indeed rules, and that his file would be considered soon.  Repeated phone calls to the Nizamabad Collector went unanswered, but according to the DC report, the Nizamabad collector appealed again to the department in May to grant Shahid's family the benefit. Abid Rasool Khan, chairman of the State Minorities Commission is also trying to get justice for the girl and her family."I have just written a letter to the chief minister, asking him release the amount," he told TNM on Thursday.  The family is now in Nizamabad and Alia is studying in the Kasturba Gandhi Navodaya Vidyalaya in Nizamabad town. Khan however, added that she had not turned up for the last two weeks due to health problems. “Initially the paperwork was moving, but then the Telangana struggle gained momentum and Hyderabad shut down. Then they told me that bifurcation is a big process and everything will take time to get sorted out. More recently, they said that administration is busy with the Godavari Puskaralu. When will it happen?" Shahid asks. As for the alleged rapists, four of them still live in the village, one got married and left, Shahid says. All the family wants is to lead a normal life again. “We don't want to be treated like outcasts. My granddaughter is still traumatized and the incident has had a heavy impact on her. We just want things to get back to normal so she can focus on an education again and lead a normal life in future,” he says.   *Name changed to protect identity
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