One year ago today...

Bandhu remembers

Do you remember what were you doing one year ago? Bandhu does. On 29 August 2013, his daughter Pari did not return home from school.  Bandhu pushed his bicycle with a discoloured frame and rusted handlebars out of his modest home.  He pedaled along the dirt roads in his community and searched for her.  Later that evening he found her: Pari was sitting alone near the local police station, shivering with fear.  Her rapists had dumped her there.

Bandhu’s relentless pursuit for justice is uncommon.  He has refused bribes, threats and pressure within the community to throw the case.  People warn him that proceedings will take years and his family won’t be able to move forward with their lives; that Bandhu will lose his money and his children will not be able to go to school.  “Even if I have to face financial crisis, I would beg for my daughter so she can go to school,” Bandhu says.  “Even if I have to die, I want to make sure she gets justice.”  

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Indeed, Bandhu has faced financial crisis.  His resolve has isolated him and his family from the community. Fewer people make purchases from their small shop.  Instead of begging, though, Bandhu took up a job as a driver for a goods carrier.  Although he earns extra money, he must leave early morning and only returns late at night.

One thing is clear: Bandhu will do whatever it takes for his children to have a better life than him.  He sees education as the key. “I want the wellbeing of my children,” Bandhu says. “I want them to get educated and achieve something in life.”

Interestingly, Pari wants to become a lawyer...possibly because of two men who are role models in her life.  Perhaps she sees her father’s unquenchable thirst for justice and wants to become a lawyer so she can pursue justice too.  Perhaps she sees CSJ lawyer Chandra Suman, who has supported and defended her and her family during this lonely and dark time, and she wants to be like him.  Regardless, these men are a picture of what is good in men.

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