A Nishad family alleges rape, murder of teenager in upper-caste home

shahid tantray for the caravan

At 4.30 pm on 4 October, Kusum, a domestic worker, received a call from her 17-year-old foster daughter. "Aunty has gone downstairs and locked her door. She asked me to sleep in the driver’s room. I don’t want to go there. I sat on the stairs instead for two hours. Please take me with you, I don’t like it here”—these were the teenager’s last words to her foster mother. 

The police has ruled the teenager's death a "simple suicide," even though the forensic investigation of samples from the body is pending. It has denied all allegations of impropriety and wrongdoing. We visited the Bansal home but were not allowed to meet Drupadi. When called, Renu Mittal did not answer our queries. 

Kusum and her family are from the Nishad community, a backward class. The family's attempts to seek the help of their local MLA and the Delhi Commission for Women have been in vain.

Despite these obstacles, Kusum and her neighbours are committed to seeking an investigation into the death of their daughter. On 18 October, Kusum registered a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission.