In the past two-three days, conflicting reports have emerged, regarding the fund collected for the case of the eight years old Bakarwal girl who was raped and murdered in the Rasana village of Kathua district, earlier this year. A few news portals reported that the funds have not yet reached the family, while a few others reported otherwise. When Newsclick contacted the family of the rape victim to ascertain the truth, the father of the victim said, “We have received Rs 18 lakh from Crowdnewsing, and we are able to access that money. The only problem is that I have a joint account with my daughter’s foster father. So, we both have to go together to withdraw.”
He refuted the allegation against Crowdnewsing, and said, “We never said that [we haven’t received money]. We were told by people that we will receive Rs 1 crore, but we have received only Rs 18 lakh from a guy named Bilal, and we have maintained that. Hamare pass aur kuch nahi aaya (We haven’t received anything else).”
In April, the crowdfunding platform, Crowdnewsing, run by Bilal Zaidi, had collected money to provide monetary help to the families of Kathua and Unnao rape victims. As per Zaidi, the family had received an amount of Rs 18.46 lakh in a joint account on April 24.
Mobeen Farooqi, the lawyer in the rape case had told Newsclick earlier, “Many people are collecting money in the name of Kathua rape case. We aren’t aware who all have raised the amount and how much has reached the family.” However, the family has confirmed that they have received Rs 18 lakh from Crowdnewsing, but isn’t aware of other funds which have been raised in their name.
Meanwhile, fear looms over the family, as they delay the journey to Kathua from Samba, following the threat given to them by the locals of the village. As per the rape victim’s relative, Imitiyaz, “The victim's father had called a few people he knew from the village. He was told that the locals won’t sell leaves to them. We feel threatened and we have planned to extend our trip for one more month. Let’s see what happens after that.”