NEW DELHI: Nirbhaya's younger brother is flying high -- literally. He has joined a private airline after completing his commercial pilot training and his parents cannot stop thanking Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for making it possible.
Badrinath Singh said that the Congress leader helped the grief-stricken family in "every way possible he could" after his 23-year-old daughter was brutally gang raped on December 16, 2012 that led to her death 13 days later.
"My son (he refused to name him) is now a pilot. He completed his training recently. He has joined IndiGo Airlines and is already flying planes. And it is true it was possible because of Rahul Gandhi," said Singh, who works at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here.
He said his son after completing his Class 12 got admitted to the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, a government-founded autonomous institute in Rae Bareli -- the Lok Sabha constituency of Rahul Gandhi's mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
"Rahul Gandhi made it possible. He looked after us after the incident," the father said, referring to the December 16 night when his daughter was brutally gang-raped.
"He (Gandhi) helped us emotionally. He helped us in many ways. He helped us monetarily. Otherwise, you can understand how was it possible for us to make our son a pilot."
Singh said many came to help the family initially, but "it was Gandhi who stood by us always and had strictly told us to keep it a secret".
"He used to tell us he was not doing it for his politics. It was purely on humanitarian basis. He used to tell us not to speak to the media," Singh said, adding that he too has nothing to do with Gandhi's politics, "but the truth remains the truth, and we cannot thank him enough".
He said the Congress leader used to counsel his son regularly and motivated him to do something good in his life and support the family.
"He suggested to him to pursue a pilots training course and got him admitted to the Uran Akademi in Rae Bareli," Singh said.
Singh's another son is studying engineering in Pune.
On December 16, 2012, as Nirbhaya and her male friend waited at a bus stop in Munirka, after watching a late night show of "Life of Pi" at a theatre there, a chartered bus stopped by. The two were unsuspecting of the bestial motives of the six males, including a minor, on board who offered to drop them to their destination.
The young woman's friend was knocked down with an iron rod while Nirbhaya was raped by the five men and the teenaged youth on the moving bus. The two were flung, bleeding by a roadside. The brutality of the rape and the woman's death in a Singapore hospital on December 29 sparked off nationwide protests.
"The incident left a permanent scar but Gandhi came like an angel. Whatever the politics, but he has been an angel to us," said the father.
Asked if he had flown with his son, Singh said: "Not as of now. But maybe I will fly in the plane he pilots soon."