The young wife of the man who allegedly raped his eight-month-old cousin in India has shared her shock and devastation at being told her husband and the father of her son is a rapist.
Housewife Hema Kohli, 22, cannot digest her husband of three years is a ‘disgusted’ man but admits if ‘he’s guilty he should be hanged’.
‘I still cannot believe he did this,’ she said. ‘I cannot believe I fell in love with a man like this. If he is proven guilty, I want to see him hanged in front of my eyes.’
Suraj Kohli, 26, who works as a cleaner for a private firm, was arrested on January 29, for raping his eight-month-old cousin while drunk at their shared-home in Northwest Delhi, India’s capital city.
The little girl was at home with her two-year-old sister and aunt, on January 28, while her father, 28, who works as a daily labourer, and mother, 25, who works as a maid were out working.
Police claimed that Suraj took the victim into a bed room on the pretext he was going to play with her. But when her mother returned home, she saw her baby lying in a pool of blood and crying, with no sign of Suraj.
She quickly alerted her aunt before taking her to doctors at the local government clinic, who confirmed she had been raped.
Hema said said: ‘I am still speechless. I cannot get over the shock. I’m struggling to digest it. But I have full sympathies with the baby and her mother. I was very close to them. My heart aches for her and I will support her. If I have to go against my husband for it then I will.’
I am still speechless. I cannot get over the shock. I’m struggling to digest it
Hema, who has a nine-month-old son with Suraj, has been subjected to both verbal and physical abuse by her community since her husband was caught and arrested on January 29.
‘I cannot stay here now,’ she said. ‘I am abused, taunted and even attacked with stones every time I see the neighbours. I try and explain to them that I am as angry as they are but they do not want to accept this. They threaten me and say they’ll beat me whenever I step out to buy milk for my son. I have no choice than to leave this area and move to live with my in-laws in their village. I will stay with them now but not here.’
Hema and Suraj met in early 2015, where they both worked as cleaners and had instant chemistry. The couple quickly fell in love and married six months later on 11 August, 2015.
‘I fell in love with his caring nature,’ she said. ‘He was like a God to me as he took care of me like a baby. He was very possessive and loved me a lot. We were really happy with each other.’
They had a baby girl the following year but she died aged three-months-old as she was born premature and never recovered. But in June last year the two had a baby boy.
Hema said: ‘He was very disturbed after our daughter’s death but he got better after our son was born and loved his son like anything. He’s very close to him. I saw him adore the baby (victim) also, equally just like his own child. I am still in shock as to how he would do anything like this.’
I am still in shock as to how he would do anything like this
But Hema recalls that Suraj had been upset about something over the last three weeks and had started drinking heavily.
‘He was upset about something,’ she added. ‘I asked him several times but he did not share anything. He just said it was personal so I never knew what was wrong. But he had started drinking a lot because of it.
‘Before, he had always been a very jovial person and loved to make people happy. He was very caring towards his family. He was often worried about finding a suitable match for his younger sister and helped establish his younger brothers in work as we are not financially strong enough to give them money. He was determined to give his son a good education and life. Everyone in the family are shocked that he could do something like this.’
Suraj’s parents live in a small village in Alwar, Rajasthan, northern India, and were called to Delhi following the incident.
His mother, Bai Devi, 45, a farmer, said her son should be given the strictest punishment if he his guilty.
Bai said: ‘They should not spare him. I am saying this even though he’s my eldest child. If he has done something like this, I will never forgive him. I am still not sure he has done it because he has not admitted this before me yet. But if the medical reports confirmed it was him I will fully support the law and ensure he gets the strictest punishment.’
Station Head Officer Arvind Kumar, from Netaji Subhash Place police station, said: ‘The family registered a complaint with us and during the investigation Suraj turned out to be the prime suspect. Once we caught him and interrogated him, he confessed to the crime. He said he was drunk at the time of the crime. But he has now been arrested under section 376 (Punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 6 (not less than ten years which may extend to imprisonment for life, and fine) of Protection of Children from sexual Assault (POCSO) Act.’
Hema said she went to see Suraj at the police station after his arrest but he told her he was innocent.
She said: ‘He had pain in his eyes. He told me he was innocent and did nothing. I wanted to believe him but I also had the terror and pain of the little girl’s eyes. I did not say anything to him. I just said justice will be done to the one who is innocent.
‘I love my husband but not if he’s a rapist. He has brought shame on the entire family. We were a happy family and there was no tension between us. I just wonder what was going in his mind when he did this? What will I tell my son when he grows up? What do I saw is his father? I fear such questions now.’
The eight-month-old victim is currently at Kalawati Saran Children’ Hospital, in Delhi, recovering from a three-hour operation, on January 29.
Her father said: ‘She is currently in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and still critical. Doctors have operated on her injuries as her internal parts were damaged. She is still in a lot of pain. It hurts me to see her like this. I can only hope she recovers from this torture she has had to face.’