He can't even afford a cycle, but that doesn't stop a daily wage labourer in Jharkhand from walking to a health centre with his nine-year-old daughter in his arms almost every day for treatment of her wounds inflicted by a man who brutally raped her two months ago.
A local driver lured the child with some chocolate before raping and abandoning her by a riverside with a ruptured intestine early in July. Profusely bleeding and unable to stand or walk, the girl crawled to her home about a kilometre away and narrated the ordeal to her parents.
She was admitted to a local hospital where her condition worsened and she had to be rushed to nearby Jamshedpur for better treatment, but doctors there couldn't stop the bleeding and referred her to aRanchi hospital.
She had to undergo a colectomy in Ranchi to remove her damaged intestine and now uses a colostomy bag. After the successful surgery, doctors managed to check the bleeding and discharged her, but her wounds have to be dressed regularly at home.
"So what if I do not have a cycle or a motorbike? She is my baby, I cannot dump her. I want her to recover at the earliest and for that I have to take her to the doctor every day," said the poor labourer, as he left his home in Hatiapata village, around 200 km east of capital Ranchi, with the suffering child.
Today, he father walks four km to the nearest health centre each time her dressing has to be changed because the Maoist-hit area has no public transport and he cannot afford even a bicycle, let alone a motorcycle.
Come rain or sunshine, the father does not skip a doctor's visit. The treatment is taking a financial toll on the family as he cannot work on a regular basis any more, but he is determined to look after his daughter. In order to keep his ailing daughter happy, he and his family buy her new clothes and gifts by selling their livestock.
"I am unable to go for work as this is a priority. We have exhausted whatever in the name of savings we had. Rather we are deep in debt now," said the poor labourer. "God knows how many more days we will have to suffer like this. I wish a doctor could come to my home and dress the wounds of my daughter but that's a dream for us." The young girl identified the man accused of raping her after police nabbed him a few days later while trying to rape another minor.
"I am aware of the minor's rape and health condition. Let me check what best I can do for her speedy recovery," Ghatsila sub-divisional officer B P Singh said.