Caste and Gender in and out of India


Wellcome Library Illustration on Domestic Violence in India 

B
arot Community and their cross-cultural identity 

This page is about Gujarati Barots. I have collected some articles which highlight certain traditional aspects of their place in Gujarati folklore and their changing identity in their homeland as well as in transnational spaces in different parts of the world.

Barots are people who trace their origins to ancient times as bards who who held a  place of pride and respect in ancient kingdoms. One of the most well-known Barots is Chand Barot, a poet who is known to have lived in the realm of Prithvi Raj Chauhan. He is known to have had good deal of influence and was well-known for his poetic skills as well as for his political acumen. Barots must have enjoyed a variety of life chances from being small landholders to being singers and performers and famously known as vahivanchas or traditional genealogists (well documented by Shah and Shroff in their study). There is the tradition and routes status through minor land grants as well as through other traditional skills. 

English language material on Barots

The Vahivancha  Barots of Gujarat: A Caste of Genealogists and Mythographers
A. M. Shah; R. G. ShroffThe Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 71, No. 281, Traditional India: Structure and Change, (Jul. - Sep., 1958), pp. 246-276.

Gordon Thompson
The Barots of Gujarati-Speaking Western India: Musicianship and Caste Identity
Asian Music, Vol. 24, No. 1. (Autumn, 1992 - Winter, 1993), pp. 1-17.

Gujarati language historical and ethnographis material on Barots

There is some material on Barots in Gujarati language. Following sources have come to my attention recently: 
Appearance of Barots and Charans in folk stories of Gujarat by Zaverchand Meghani 

Keshubhai Barot 
Samaj Shilp Barot Asmita, 1993, (2003)  Rajkot: Pravin Prakashan  Private Ltd.

This hard cover volume has  880  pages. It  provides a very wide range of sources which relate to historical and cultural background of Barot community. Look at the table of contents and provide some comments on the nature of content of this volume.

ડો. કનુભાઈ ચતુરભાઈ બારોટ, બ્રહ્મભટ્ટ સંહિતા (ગુજરાતની સાંસ્કૃતિક પરંપરા અને પરિવર્તનમાં બ્રહ્મભટ્ટ જ્ઞાતિનું પ્રદાન ૧૮૧૮-૧૯૪૭), ૧૯૯૬ અમદાવાદ: બ્રહ્મભટ્ટ મહાસભા, પાના ૩૩૬.
Professor Kanubhai Chaturbhai Barot 
Brahambhatt Samhita : Contribution of Brhambhatt Gnayti in cultural tradition and transformation of Gujarat 1818-1947. 1996 Ahmedabad, Gujarat Brahambhatt Mahasabha, pp. 336.

This Gujarati language study is based on author's Ph D research among the Gujarat Barots . Consisting of six chapters, it provides and interesting and useful body of historical and ethnographic information about Barots also known as Bhat and legantly calling themselves Brhahambhatt , a Sanskritic self identity that many families have adopted for themselves as a mark of respect and upward mobility.

Mohanlal Chunilal Dhami, Amar Balidan: Martyrs of Sidhdhgiri (Shetrunjaya). 1990 Palitana: Shree Kakubhai Narsinh Brahambhatt, pp. 192. 
મોહનલાલ ચુનીલાલ ધામી, અમર બલિદાન યાને સિધ્ગીરીના શહીદો. ૧૯૯૦ પાલીતાણા; શ્રી કાકુભાઈ નારસિંહ બ્રહ્મભટ્ટ, પાના, ૧૯૨.
Chunilala Dhami's  story is  about how Barots defended Shetrunjaya Jain temples from the invasion of Allaudin Khilji and his armed force in 16th century (check). A story of bravery and valor that brought about a symbiotic relationship between Palitana Barots and Jain mercantile community in which the mercantile Jains extended their patronage to Barots and used their services for their yatra or pilgrimage to Palitana. Personal connection to Palitana is important here. For my mother Vimlaben Barot was born in a Palitana Brahmbhatt family and I still have memories of Jain patronage. During my stay with my mother's brothers, there were two places which I visited with them on daily basis. The first one was Palitana railway station where the Jain pilgrims would arrive and and Jain Dharmashalas where the pilgrims sought accommodation for their sacred journey. 

There is Dr Balwant Jani at Saurashtra University, Rajkot who has collected Vahis or documents prepared by Barots who work (or used to work) as genealogists.  He has produced a book in Gujarati language on this topic and papers which analyse documents or vahis prepared by the Barots. 

Gujarati Lohana Gnyati

I have been familiar with Gujarati Lohana communities for a long time and recall documenting their presence and social organization several decades ago. Lohanas are one of the most interesting and enterprising Gujarati communities in their homeland in Gujarat and India as well as in Diaspora in United Kindom and the United States. I do wish to report some research that I had carried out in collaboration with a a Lohana Study group some years ago. I had also prepared a report for the group which I expect to attach here as a separate document. This Gujarati community provides evidence of remarkable internal community organisation in its adaptation to modernity in Gujarat as well as in Diaspora. The community combines both traditional and modern elements which intertwine in self-consciousness of Lohanas living in Britain and USA.

Akila 20th January 2010 


Akila 20th January 2010 A full page devoted to a collective festive meal organised for thousands of Lohanas in Rajkot



Akila 23 January 2010 documents in a full page a highly successful collective community meal festival held in Rajkot Gujarat on 22nd January 2010



 
                                     Nobat Evening Gujarati Daily - Jamnagar A web Edition Dates 28-1-10


 
Gujarati Evening Daily Head Line
Gujarati Evening  Daily News Deatails 1
 

Gender and Violence

Persistence of gender inequalities has been a feature of modern India and Indian communities outside India. One of the most disturbing issues is violence against young girls and women. Reports in national and regional papers provide instances of harassment,  rape and physical violence often followed by murders. I want to document some cases here to show that this is a recurring pattern and to suggest that everything should be done to stop atrocities committed against women in Indian cities, towns and villages.  I read Hindustan Times, The Hindu, Times of India and several Gujarati language papers such as Divya Bhaskar and Gujarat Mitra.  Violent treatment of girls and women appears as a regular feature of news in these papers.


OPINION » LEAD  The Hindu 

January 21, 2010

Our crimes against our children

PRAVEEN SWAMI
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The truth India has shied away is that former Haryana DGP S.P.S. Rathore’s crime was, by the standards of our society, utterly ordinary. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar
The truth India has shied away is that former Haryana DGP S.P.S. Rathore’s crime was, by the standards of our society, utterly ordinary. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

By the grim standards of the dystopia India’s children inhabit, S.P.S. Rathore’s crime was utterly ordinary.

In December last, Indians watched in outrage as S.P.S. Rathore, former Haryana Director-General of Police, smirked at the end of court proceedings which saw him receive a six-month prison sentence for sexually abusing a teenager 19 years ago.

Not far from the Chandigarh courtroom where Rathore was convicted, a panchayat in Rohtak gathered to discuss the fate of a seven-year-old girl who had been sexually abused by a retired schoolteacher. The panchayat ordered that the hair of the perpetrator, Sushil Kumar, be shaved off — but asked the victim’s family not to inform the police. It was only three weeks later, after Kumar’s sons threatened the family, that the matter was reported to the police. The child’s story was buried in inside pages of local newspapers; the police say evidentiary issues render it unlikely the perpetrator will ever be punished.

Kumar is not the only paedophile who has not received national attention. Few know the story of a two-year-old raped by a construction contractor in Bangalore, a 10-year-old girl from Valsad raped by her uncle or the Latur teenager raped by three young men in her village and hanged from a jamun tree. Part of the reason Rathore’s appalling crime drew attention was that it fitted neatly with tropes of villainy familiar from pop-culture: among them, uniformed criminals immune from the law and powerful politicians who guarantee them impunity.

But the truth India has shied away from these past weeks is this: Rathore’s crime was, by the standards of our society, utterly ordinary. For the most part, India’s children live in a nightmare; a dystopia founded on our collective complicity and silence. By the Government of India’s account, more than two-thirds of Indian children experience beatings in their homes, schools, workplace and government institutions — beatings which, if conducted in prison cells, would count as torture. Every second child in India, the government says, also faces one or more forms of sexual abuse.

Yet, no government has found the time or energy to enact a law against the abuse of children — leaving the authorities, when they can bestir themselves to deliver justice, to respond using legalisation intended to prevent prostitution, beggary, trafficking and rape. There is no institutional machinery to investigate schools, homes and children’s workplace for sexual and physical abuse. There are no police officers trained in the special skills needed to deal with child abuse. Barring a handful of organisations and individuals working to address the needs of abused children, there is no resource which victims and their families can turn to for help.

Terrifying facts

In 2007, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development released the thoughtful —and terrifying — Study on Child Abuse in India. More than 12,000 children were polled to arrive at an empirical picture of the scale of beatings and sexual crimes that Indian children endure. Fifty-three per cent of the children said they had encountered “one or more forms of sexual abuse;” 68.99 per cent said they had suffered physical abuse, including beatings. More than a fifth reported severe sexual abuse, including assault, having been compelled to fondle adults’ private parts, exhibit themselves or be photographed nude. Well over half of those reporting severe sexual abuse were boys, the study found.

Popular wisdom holds that sexual abuse takes place when children are in environments outside the supposedly safe confines of their homes and schools. That, the study found, was simply not true. Fifty-three per cent of children not going to school said they had been sexually abused in their family environment. Just under half said they had encountered sexual abuse at their schools. These figures, interestingly, were about the same as children in institutional care who said they had been sexually abused — 47.08 per cent. Most vulnerable were children in workplaces, 61.31 per cent of whom had been sexually abused.

Boys in all but four of 13 States — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa — were found to be more at risk of sexual abuse than girls. In Delhi, a staggering 65.6 per cent of the boys reported that they had been sexually abused.

Most at risk of serious sexual abuse, the study found, were children between 11 and 18 — although the group between six and 10 also reported significant levels of assault. Analysed by age group, the study states, sexual abuse was reported by “63.64 per cent child respondents in the age group of 15-18 years, 52.43 per cent in the age group of 13-14 years and 42.06 per cent in the age group of 5-12 years.” Assam, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh were found to have the highest levels of sexual abuse, with Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Goa recording the lowest.

We know, from separate studies, that the use of children in prostitution is also widespread. In their 2005 study, Trafficking in Women and Children in India, S. Sen and P.M. Nair estimated that there are up to half-a-million girl children from across the South Asian region working as prostitutes in India.

Elsewhere in the world, the existence of well-functioning justice mechanisms — and an open public debate on child sexual abuse — seems to have helped contain the problem to at least some extent. In the United Kingdom, a 2000 study by the National Study for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children found that about 16 per cent of children experienced sexual abuse before the age of 16. In the United States, one in four girls and one in six boys reported similar experiences. Horrific as these figures are, they are still well below the levels the Government of India’s study suggests are prevalent in our country.

Victims of violence

Depressingly, sexual abuse is only part of a wider gamut of violence. Sixty-nine per cent of the children polled reported having been physically abused — a term the authors of the Study defined as behaviour manifesting itself in kicking, slapping or corporal punishment at homes, schools, institutions and workplaces. In all the 13 States covered by the study, the incidence of physical abuse directed at children was above 50 per cent — a sign of just how widespread and legitimate the use of force is considered across the country. More than 80 per cent of children in Assam, Mizoram, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh reported physical abuse.

Most of the victims of physical abuse, the Study found, were very young children. Forty-eight per cent of the respondents who reported physical abuse were between five and 12 years old, while 26.29 per cent were 13 or 14. Older children, aged between 15 and 18, seemed to be targeted less for violence; just over a quarter reported encountering abuse. Boys reported encountering violence more often than girls in all States except Gujarat and Kerala. “In all age groups, an overwhelming majority of children (65.01%) reported being beaten at school, which means that two out of three children are victims of corporal punishment.”

The findings of the Study, its authors noted, were broadly corroborated by several other independent studies. Maulana Azad Medical College researcher Deepti Pagare found that over three-fourths of children in Delhi’s Child Observation Home had reported being subjected to physical abuse. Signs of abuse were found on the bodies of about half the children studied by Dr. Pagare. Fathers made up over half the reported perpetrators, and Dr. Pagare found a significant association between physical abuse of children and domestic violence in homes as well as substance abuse. Save the Children and Tulir, in a 2006 study conducted in West Bengal, found that almost three-quarters of child domestic workers had been physically abused. In 41.5 per cent of cases, the perpetrator was a member of the employers’ family.

What needs to be done? For one, India’s criminal justice system simply doesn’t have either the legal instruments or police infrastructure to deal with crimes against children. Despite calls from campaigners and child-rights groups, India is yet to pass a specific law on child sexual abuse — a legislative failure that makes prosecution in many situations almost impossible. Early this year, Punjab and Haryana High Court judges Mukul Mudgal and Jasbir Singh announced that they intended considering guidelines for the prosecution of child abuse cases. However, thoroughgoing criminal justice reforms will be needed for such efforts to yield results. Just 0.034 per cent of the Plan expenditure in 2006-2007 — an appalling figure — was committed to child protection.

In 1974, the National Policy for Children declared children a “supreme national asset.” No country in which two-thirds of children report beatings, and half experience sexual abuse, can make that claim with honesty. We must rip away the shrouds of silence that conceal the sheer pervasiveness of child abuse in our society. Our silence and inaction against the paedophiles in our homes, schools and neighbourhoods make us complicit in the horrific crimes being perpetrated against our children.

COMMENTS:

Child abuse has been going on for years all over the developing countries and in developed countries as well. How would you go about overcoming this issue? Several possibilities come to mind, such as family planning, free primary education, etc. I just want to say that it is a disturbing situation but just by blaming the Govt. will not help alleviate it.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Jan 21, 2010 at 08:33 IST

And the figures cited are from the government. Actual figures would actually be much higher. Despicable and appalling.

from:  Sudhanshu
Posted on: Jan 21, 2010 at 11:52 IST

The article is superb.Not only the Government, the private sector organisations, NGOs, Social warfare organisations can also play an important role to prevent crimes against children.

from:  vasudev Dhakad
Posted on: Jan 21, 2010 at 16:25 IST

I am simply appalled at the facts and figures reported from government sources by the author. The earlier corrective measures are taken the better it will be. Can we call ourselves civilizes? I hold my head in shame, as I am a part of it.

from:  Prof.P S Sawhney
Posted on: Jan 21, 2010 at 16:39 IST

The sexual abuse numbers appear too high. Every second child? Really? How was the survey conducted? What was the population in which it was conducted? I'm talking to a dozen or so of my friends and they all find these numbers incredulous. A 50% chance that any kid has been sexually abused should make them recall someone they know that got abused, shouldn't it? Not trying to push away the problem, but I want to find how believable these numbers are. Can you please cite the "Government of India" study? Any links to where the actual study is published? 

from:  Abhilash
Posted on: Jan 21, 2010 at 21:43 IST

A heartrending piece. I am glad that these issues are becoming the basis of public debate in India and impressed that there are resources being allocated for statistical research on this. 
Having empirical records on this is the first step on emphasizing the enormity of the problem. 
Thank you for this and for speaking out for these children who are denied a voice in so many ways! 
Rafia Zakaria 
Amnesty International USA

from:  Rafia Zakaria
Posted on: Jan 21, 2010 at 21:49 IST

We as a people are traditionally conservative and tend to keep quiet in the face of injustice, even that against ourselves. I am shocked and appalled at the sheer numbers involved in sexual abuse. 
However, I would hope that a slap on the cheek is not considered "physical abuse". Let us not allow political correctness to run riot. There need to be clear guidelines about what is acceptable and what is not. Sexual abuse in any form is NOT!

from:  Samir Mody
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 01:12 IST

There is no way this article is true. You have painted a utterly dismal picture for children of India. I would like to know what sort of questions were asked..a pat on the back is also considered physical abuse! and as for sexual abuse..god knows what questions were asked..Children are very shy..and I wonder were they able to answer the questions truthfully..Indian uupbringing is much better than the western upbringing.

from:  Hemant
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 02:45 IST

I guess the more we look at the process of socialisation and the institutionalization of the inherent tendencies to treat these as ordinary things is absolutely disgusting. Even today, in cities you go and ask people about Child Rights, and the first question that comes back, children? of what age?

from:  Sushanta K Mohapatra
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 02:48 IST

Preponderance of the crime may make Rathore’s despicable act rather ‘ordinary’ but it should not be interpreted as acceptable and forgivable. Appalling as it may sound, most often, it is someone that the child trusted that abuses them (sexually or otherwise). Children are taught to believe that actions of adults are justified by their rationality. If children are beaten or abused by trusted adults, to whom would they complain and will they be taken seriously? The child often has no true realization of being abused and the implications, until they gain mental maturity. Perhaps, lack of awareness and open communication within the family (especially, with regard to sexual abuse), fear of being stigmatized and not being trusted dissuades young victims from speaking up. Affected families are shameful of the incident; rarely embrace the victim and chose reticence instead of fighting for justice, giving scope for the perpetrator to continue the onslaught on other children. It is not enough to have awareness programs, rules and regulations in place and hold government responsible; an issue like child abuse can only be tackled if ‘we’ as a family and society come together and 1) accept that it can happen to ‘our’ children, 2) take responsibility to condemn and report and 3) offer support to the victim. I sincerely commend ‘THE HINDU’ for publishing their opinion and invoking thought in their readers. It has been two years since Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has released their shocking report on child abuse; I wonder how many of us who read that report have done anything within the realm; have we at least discussed the issue with our family members? Have we advised our children on dos and don’ts? Perhaps, we just sympathised with the unfortunate ‘other’s’ children. Is it possible that ‘our’ children or their friends have encountered such a situation and the reports are all about ‘us’? We may be shocked!

from:  Aruna Kilaru
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 07:38 IST

Children are more vulnerable and frail, which make them easy target by the sex abusers. In schools as well, children are prone to attack using corporal punishment. It is not possible for a child to be alert to such threats. By creating awareness among parents in order to monitor changes in their child's behaviour is the one of the methods to alleviate this problem.

from:  Thilaga Velusamy
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 10:11 IST

Nice article. I think indians are still in the first stages of accepting the reality of our society, the denial mode. It has to pass through anger, depression and acceptance. 
There is a long way ahead.

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 11:54 IST

I would like to support the author's suggestion -legal instruments to deal with crimes against the children. It is too late but the necessary steps should be taken and the immediate steps should be towards extensive awareness by govt of India through media.

from:  pavan
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 13:13 IST

Interesting, but what's so strange and appalling. Read any paper whether, a developed or developing or under developed nation. It's the same. This is what humans are. We keep on breeding like rabbits, that the world is becoming a small place. Every other living thing is this world is becoming extinct except for bugs, so really bugs and humans have more in common than other animals. We destroy things for our pleasure, which even bugs don't.

from:  Jatan
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 21:52 IST

We need to raise public awareness about these crimes. We need to make a change at the ground level on attitudes to these crimes -- don't blame the victim. Establish special victims units within police forces where only specially qualified people can be employed. Actually have university degrees in Child Psychology, make it essential for people to have these degrees before they can be employed in this position. Come up with a strategy to periodically monitor this unit. Train police force in general to be more "humane" in the broadest sense of the word. Above all, make sure there are checks and balances that ensure that all these units actually work fine.

from:  Suba
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010 at 22:38 IST

I should really appreciate this article.As mentioned it is must to make the law more severe against this child abuse. I just wanted to say a thing, there are lots of people who are ready to fight for the rights for children who are tortured like this but most of them dont know the way.It will be good if there is a proper plan to help them. Especially students should come forward and initiate the process of eradicating the problem.This article is a real eye opener.

from:  Radhika.P
Posted on: Jan 23, 2010 at 00:44 IST

Parents need to know what to say, and not say, and also whom to turn to themselves for support and advice, if their child reports being sexually abused. Parents should also learn to tell the signs, and also LISTEN to their kids. It's about protecting the child's future, preventing further abuse, and most of all, making sure you don't blame the child for the abuse in anyway. SO much for parents to learn here, and also learn to empower your child to protect himself or herself. Most child abuse is perpetrated not by a stranger, but someone within the family or friend circle.

from:  Daya
Posted on: Jan 23, 2010 at 02:53 IST

As far as the question of children's physical abuse goes, it's a part of our Indian family tradition from a long time. That's the way children are supposed to be learning the ways to live. As a result of this even the school teachers have a tacit acceptance from the parents in perpetrating physical abuse of young children for small mistakes. Thus only justice system and laws will be unable to check these crimes inflicted on our tender hearts. A widespread awareness needs to be carried out just the way other evil practices like dowry system have been discouraged. Films and TV might play a big role apart from other media.

from:  Saurabh Chandra
Posted on: Jan 23, 2010 at 06:57 IST

The official figures are appalling and dismal. How can we call ourselves a great country, with huge child abuse, and that too corroborated by the official figures. And it is more worrying that the judiciary and the legislature haven't yet reacted sharply to this. Pathetic is our system.

from:  Anil Kolla
Posted on: Jan 23, 2010 at 12:46 IST

Appalling as it may sound, most often, it is someone that the child trusts who abuses them (sexually or otherwise) -Parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, tutors, school teachers, friends etc. Children are taught to believe that actions of adults are justified by their rationality. If children are beaten or abused by trusted adults, to whom would they complain and will they be taken seriously? The child often has no true realisation of being abused and the implications, until they gain mental maturity.

from:  Aruna Kilaru
Posted on: Jan 24, 2010 at 08:11 IST

I would search for an option where the message reaches the children without disturbing them. There are organisations to create awareness towards child rights, and among the victims, but I doubt if there are any measures taken for prevention. Primarily the parents should know how to answer their kid's queries related to these topics with sensitivity, which can be the starting point.

from:  Suriyagandhi.H
Posted on: Jan 25, 2010 at 12:27 IST

An eye opening article..This shows that Governnment needs to take immediate steps. In addition, it needs to keep a check on whether the existing policies and steps are implemented. Moreover, the person found as accused must be sentenced to life imprisonment or death sentence and proper steps must be taken to keep the victim's family safe. A special judiciary needs to be set up to handle such issues. Moreover, public awareness campaigns need to be lauched to encourage people to ask for justice and help them fight against child abuse.

from:  Ankita Kapoor
Posted on: Jan 27, 2010 at 10:10 IST

Implement something like CBR check before recruiting teachers or police personals. And create mass awareness among school children and parents. It won't be easy but something must be done to prevent the child from being exploited again and again in near future.

from:  Laymen
Posted on: Jan 28, 2010 at 05:55 IST
                            






OPINION » EDITORIAL

December 29, 2009

The rot beyond Rathore

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If the appalling facts surrounding the case of sexual molestation of a 14-year-old girl by a senior Haryana police officer, S.P.S. Rathore, have transfixed the nation, this is because of the blatant manner in which the accused was able to use his position to subvert the course of justice. Even in a country inured to the rich, powerful, and shameless getting away, the full spectrum dominance unleashed on the helpless girl’s family by Rathore set a new low. And yet, the instant case is not just a morality play about the criminality of one man. It is a cautionary tale about the multiple layers of protection that well-connected offenders enjoy in the Indian criminal justice system by design and default. Subversion begins right after the offence is committed, when the victim finds it impossible to get the local police to register a first information report. Despite numerous court rulings and official guidelines on this matter, police stations around the country routinely refuse to file FIRs against police officers, politicians, and other influential notables. And even if a case is filed, the police often join hands with the accused person’s lawyers to ensure the matter gets delayed for years on end. The foisting of false cases on the family of Rathore’s victim was another old trick the police officer resorted to.

Rathore and men like him are able to get away with such abuses of authority because they are ever ready to commit similar illegalities for their political masters. Unless meaningful police reforms are introduced, this problem will not go away. The Indian system is also surprisingly lenient towards law enforcement officers who try and frame innocent citizens. In the Shopian case involving the suspicious death of two Kashmiri women, the Central Bureau of Investigation, which investigated the circumstances of their death, went a step further and filed criminal charges against a number of individuals who had allegedly sought to incriminate the security forces in the incident. But the same CBI, which took up the Rathore case and came across indisputable evidence of police vendetta against his victim’s brother, did not see fit to file charges against Rathore and all the subordinate policemen involved in the malicious prosecution of the young man on bogus accusations of auto theft. Even at this late stage, it is essential that the CBI be tasked with unearthing the identity of the dozens of bureaucrats, policemen, and politicians who conspired with Rathore to pervert the course of justice. Haryana’s former DGP must get his legal comeuppance; but those who helped him all these years must also get their due.

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CHANDIGARH, January 25, 2010

Rathore gets interim bail in two cases

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Former Haryana DGP S.P.S. Rathore has been granted bail in two cases in connection with the molestation of a budding tennis player. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar
Former Haryana DGP S.P.S. Rathore has been granted bail in two cases in connection with the molestation of a budding tennis player. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

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Frontline
Volume 27 - Issue 02 :: Jan. 16-29, 2010
INDIA'S NATIONAL MAGAZINE
from the publishers of THE HINDU
 Contents



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COVER STORY

Case of injustice

T.K. RAJALAKSHMI 
in Chandigarh
After protracted litigation, a former Director General of Police in Haryana gets off with a light sentence for molesting a schoolgirl.

AKHILESH KUMAR 

 

S.P.S. Rathore, former Haryana DGP, who was convicted in the case of molesting a minor girl in 1990, makes his way to a court in Panchkula with his wife and counsel, Abha, to apply for anticipatory bail on December 30, 2009.

FOR nearly two decades, the case was out of public memory. All except those who were keen to secure justice for a life that was snuffed out early had forgotten it. So, it was with mixed emotions that people welcomed the verdict, on December 21, 2009, of the Chief Judicial Magistrate of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, sentencing the former Director General of Police of Haryana, Shambu Pratap Singh Rathore, to six months’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.1,000 for molesting a 14-year-old girl in 1990. The charge under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (assault or use of criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) was established after protracted litigation by those who kept alive their hopes of justice.

“The guilt of the convict has already been proved up to hilt,” noted Chief Judicial Magistrate Jasbir Singh Sidhu in his 97-page order, adding that the allegations were of moral turpitude and were of a serious nature, particularly in the circumstances when the victim was a minor. Dismissing the arguments of the defence counsel highlighting Rathore’s meritorious record, the judge noted that a meritorious service record and high moral character were two different things and that it could not be presumed merely on the grounds of meritorious service that a person would not commit an act of molestation.

The victim was not yet 15 and was a student of Class X in a public school when her life fell apart on August 12, 1990. Rathore, then a Deputy Inspector General of Police serving with the Bhakra Beas Management Board, was also the president of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA) at Panchkula, where the teenager and her friends had just started playing tennis. The victim’s father had plans of sending his daughter, who had lost her mother several years earlier, to Canada for a bright future.

Rathore convinced him that his daughter was a promising tennis player and that he would give her extra coaching. Rathore molested her in the office of the HLTA. This was accidently witnessed by her friend Aradhana, and the very first inquiry report submitted by the then Director General of Police, R.R. Singh, confirmed it. Instead of taking action, the State government led by Hukam Singh ordered departmental proceedings against Rathore. No first information report (FIR) was registered. Three years after the incident, the girl committed suicide by consuming poison.

The victim’s family was aided in their fight by Aradhana, her father, Anand Prakash, a government employee, and mother, Madhu Prakash. Madhu Prakash told Frontline that Rathore should have been booked early on under Section 306 of the IPC for abetment to suicide as well. Nevertheless, she said, the sentence of six months’ jail for Rathore, who had delayed the process of justice all these years, was still an achievement. Women’s organisations such as the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and the National Commission for Women and citizens’ forums like the newly constituted Democratic Forum in Chandigarh demanded that the government take the matter forward by registering a case under Section 306 against Rathore.

Delayed FIR

Following a writ petition by Madhu Prakash in 1997, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on August 21, 1998, ordered the registration of an FIR and handed over the investigation to the CBI. Rathore appealed against it in the Supreme Court, which upheld the lower court’s order. Finally, an FIR was registered on December 29, 1999, six years after the teenager committed suicide.

While the order of Justice Sidhu on the whole has been appreciated, many feel that the judgment has come too late and that it has overlooked the fact that the molestation and the subsequent harassment meted out to the family led the teenager to kill herself. What prevented any agency of the State from booking the senior police officer on the additional charge of abetment to suicide baffles everyone. The fact that it took 19 years to establish a case of molestation was a setback in itself.

Nevertheless, in a State infamous for its shabby treatment of women – where the skewed sex ratio has been an issue of concern for long and where honour killings have enjoyed public and political sanction – the verdict was a relief. But when Rathore got bail soon after, the public, political parties and women’s organisations were outraged and they demanded that the bail be cancelled. Though the government did little in that direction, after some initial prevarication the police registered three FIRs based on complaints by the victim’s father and her brother against Rathore and four others under various sections including abetment to suicide.

“We want the case to be reopened and want to know clearly why the delays happened and who all were responsible for them,” said Madhu Prakash. She said fast-track courts were needed to deal with crimes against women and children. “There are so many girls who do not speak up. Even if they do, there is hardly anyone to speak up for them,” she added.

She said anyone familiar with the case would know that harassment of the family led the girl to suicide. “Her father was removed from his job. They sold their home because of sustained harassment and moved to Shimla [Himachal Pradesh] on rent. The son, who was a student of St. Joseph’s, would have had a bright career but for the false cases registered against him,” she said.


 
A CANDLE-LIGHT PROTEST at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi demanding that a case of abetment to suicide be registered against Rathore, on December 24.

Madhu Prakash said her family too was harassed. “My husband was charged with many cases; we faced threats as well. We feared that anything could happen if our children ventured out. My husband was forced to seek retirement and we started getting pension benefits after a protracted struggle. I used to get calls saying that my daughter had run away from her hostel. It was to depress us mentally. Criminal cases were filed against us in 1991. We have a defamation case also against us. There have been more than 400 hearings in this case, in Ambala, Patiala and now Chandigarh. After so many years, all that Rathore gets is six months’ imprisonment, and then he gets bail,” she said.

The victim’s brother had as many as six cases of car theft registered against him, all of which were later dropped for lack of evidence. Madhu Prakash said that a Patiala court had ordered that he be given compensation, but Rathore got a restraining order from the Supreme Court. She said the State owed much more to the family of the victim, including compensation.

In an application to the Special Judicial Magistrate, CBI, Ambala, Madhu Prakash along with four others had stated that the teenager committed suicide because of continual harassment. For instance, her name was struck off from the rolls of Sacred Heart School, Chandigarh, on the grounds that she had not paid the school fees. As the role of the school came under the scanner, the administration of the Union Territory of Chandigarh ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident on December 29, 2009. After examining the statements of persons at present and formerly associated with the school, including Father Thomas Anchanikal, Vicar General and spokesperson of the Chandigarh, Shimla Diocese, the report concluded that the school had selectively followed the instructions/rules mentioned in the school diary and singled out the girl for striking off her name from the rolls.

The inquiry report, a copy of which is available with Frontline, noted:

“This is, therefore, a case which clearly demonstrates beyond any manner of doubt that the school authorities acted in a mala fide, biased, arbitrary, indiscriminate and unwarranted manner while expelling … [the teenager] from the school. It seems strange that the principle and practice of removing the name of the student from the rolls for non-payment of fees was applied only in the case of [her]. … Sister Sebastina’s statement that the decision of striking off the name of … [the girl] from the school rolls was taken by her independently and that there was no pressure from any quarter that influenced her decision in this regard whatsoever cannot be believed in the face of telling circumstances of the case. From the discussions made herein above, it is amply evident that the school authorities … did not act independently or impartially but under acute pressure in invoking Rule 35 of the Pupil’s Code of Conduct since the same rule has never been applied to any of the 135 similar cases dug out by the undersigned from the official records of the school. This act of the school authorities certainly would have contributed to mortifying the self-esteem, self-confidence, integrity and reputation of a young minor girl … thereby traumatising and indelibly scarring her impressionable mind.

“With regard to the allegation in the statement of … [the girl’s father] that the school authorities expelled … [the young girl] from the school at the behest of Sh. S.P.S. Rathore, although no direct evidence is available, it is quite probable in view of the strong circumstantial evidence to the effect that … [the girl’s] expulsion was proximate in time and followed close on the heels of the incident of molestation. This aspect in my view requires an in-depth and thorough probe.”

Madhu Prakash said slogans were raised in favour of Rathore and against the victim’s family in a demonstration outside their house by the residents of Rajiv Colony. The fact of the demonstration by some 200 people was corroborated by an inspector of Panchkula, Anil Dhawan. This was confirmed in R.R. Singh’s report.

R.R. Singh also observed that “Rathore wanted to prolong the inquiry on one pretext or the other”. He noted: “I am of the considered view that whatever … a small girl of 15 years has stated about her molestation by Shri S.P.S. Rathore is based on true facts and I am of the considered opinion that a cognisable offence is made out.” J.K. Duggal, who was Home Secretary from 1990 to 1992, toldFrontline that he thoroughly agreed with R.R. Singh’s report, which recommended the registration of an FIR.

Pankaj Bharadwaj, lawyer for the Prakash family, said that the victim’s brother was never examined though the CBI, which was handed over charge of the investigation in 1998 by an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, gave the implausible explanation that he had not made himself available for examination. He said the CBI had not even taken into account the victim’s post-mortem and inquest reports. In fact, the CBI, while concluding its investigation, maintained that no offences under Sections 306 and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) were made out.

The Special Judicial Magistrate, CBI, Ambala, Jagdev Singh Dhanjal, thought otherwise. He concluded on October 23, 2001, that a prima facie case existed for the addition of offence under Section 306 against Rathore. Rathore challenged this in the High Court. “The CBI did not collect any evidence pertaining to Section 306. [The victim’s brother’s] statement was never recorded. The fudged inquest report was not taken into account. Neither were the statements of [the father], Aradhana or her father taken,” said Bharadwaj, who got involved in the case in 1996 after the Prakash family approached him. He said the victim was confined to her house as even going to the market was fraught with the possibility of harassment. He added that the boy, who was detained by the police for nearly two months, was released from police custody the day after his sister killed herself.

All attempts by the Prakashes to get Section 306 added to Section 354 were frustrated after a single-judge Bench of Justice R.C. Kathuria of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed their application. It was established in the chemical examination report of February 21, 1994, that the girl’s death was a case of poisoning from consuming a “chloro compound group of insecticides”. The High Court quashed the Special Judicial Magistrate’s order of October 23, 2001, considering that the victim had not made a police statement during the investigation of the case or that she had not come in contact with Rathore after the incident of August 1990 until the time of her death, and that no grievance had been made with regard to the harassment faced by her or her state of mind until her death.

Political capital
AKHILESH KUMAR 
 
M.S. BITTA, chairman of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, greeting Aradhana and her parents who pursued the case against S.P.S. Rathore, in Panchkula on December 28.

Soon after the girl’s suicide, the charges against Rathore were dropped. This was during the tenure of the Bhajan Lal government (1991 to 1996). In the same period, false cases of car theft were registered against her brother. In November 1994, the government promoted Rathore as Additional DGP. Between 1996 and 1999, when the Haryana Vikas Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition led by Bansi Lal was ruling the State, Rathore was made DGP. He was suspended briefly but was reinstated as Additional DGP.

The Om Prakash Chautala government, which took over in July 1999, ordered a departmental inquiry. But Rathore was exonerated in the molestation case and reinstated as DGP. Following the filing of a fresh charge sheet by the CBI on November 16, 2000, Rathore was sent on leave, and in two years, he retired from service.

The current Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda seems to enjoy the discomfiture of the main Opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), and its leader Om Prakash Chautala, who was indirectly responsible for delaying the prosecution of Rathore. Sampat Singh, now a Congress legislator, was the Home Minister of the INLD when Rathore was given a promotion.

At present, more than the Rathore case, it is the byelection of Ellenabad on January 20 that is worrying the mainstream parties in the State. The byelection follows the resignation of Chautala from the constituency after he won from both Ellenabad and Dariba Kalan in the Assembly elections. Both the Congress and the INLD are keen to win from here. Thus the sparring between the two parties over the degree of political patronage extended to Rathore has to do more with immediate political and electoral gains rather than any serious introspection of what went wrong.

“What about the judiciary? Just as the police didn’t do a good job and succumbed to political pressure, the judiciary did not do justice,” said Manjeet Kaur, a lawyer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Unfazed that she might be pulled up for her candid remarks, Manjeet Kaur told Frontline that the State could go in for appeal asking for two years’ imprisonment, which is the maximum in a case of molestation. “We have seen how a Station House Officer or a Sub Inspector behaves even with us. With ordinary people, it is much worse. And a DGP is like an atomic weapon,” she said.

Lawyer Rajvinder Singh Bains, too, of the High Court said that the State could take up the issue of false cases against the victim’s brother and take action against the police personnel who harassed him, a minor at that point, and against the doctors who falsified the inquest report. The High Court, he said, could order the recording of further evidence, reopen investigation and cancel Rathore’s bail.

The involvement of AIDWA and its State president Jagmati Sangwan has been notable. The organisation has consistently demanded for Rathore’s conviction and held demonstrations from time to time at various places, including Ambala, to press for the inclusion of the charge of abetment to suicide. “Rathore said that we were naxalite women and that he feared for his life from us. He wanted the proceedings to be shifted from Ambala,” Jagmati Sangwan told Frontline. She said the Rajput Sabha held demonstrations against AIDWA. Also, during Chautala’s regime, the State Women’s Commission issued a statement supporting Rathore and simultaneously decrying the activities of AIDWA.

In the teenager’s case, it took 10 years for an FIR to be registered and 19 years for the molester to get a conviction. The larger issue is more about how women are treated in this country, and about the gap between the realities on ground and what is delivered in the name of justice.


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The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday granted interim bail to former Haryana police chief S.P.S. Rahtore after two fresh first information reports (FIRs) were filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the molestation of a budding tennis player.

Rathore was also given relief in the third case registered against him for allegedly abetting the girl’s suicide, as the court directed CBI to give him a four-day notice before arresting him.

The anticipatory bail plea of Rathore will be heard by the court when the CBI files its final report in the matter after investigations. Till then the interim relief will continue.

Rathore had filed a plea seeking anticipatory bail in all three fresh FIRs filed against him, first by the Haryana police and later by the CBI, and had sought quashing of these FIRs.




Frontline
Volume 27 - Issue 02 :: Jan. 16-29, 2010
INDIA'S NATIONAL MAGAZINE
from the publishers of THE HINDU
 Contents



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COVER STORY

In media glare

V. VENKATESAN
It is the media’s steadfast investigation that brought to light several aspects of Rathore’s high-handedness, which had gone unreported earlier.
AKHILESH KUMAR 
 
S.P.S. Rathore surrounded by mediapersons outside the court at Panchkula in Haryana, where he applied for anticipatory bail, on December 30.

S.P.S. RATHORE’S counsel claimed before the trial court that media played a negative role in the case and published news items selectively in collusion with the complainant party. The judge, while convicting and sentencing Rathore, took note of his grievance that he felt mental stress because of the media trial. But the judge held that the court had concern only with the facts and circumstances available on record and not with what any other agency reported about the accused or the victim. He also made it clear that Rathore’s grievance could not be a ground for taking a liberal view on the quantum of sentence.

This is in line with the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Zee News case (2003) that judges by their judicial training and the nature of the office they hold are not expected to be influenced by the broadcast of a film that an accused apprehended could prejudice the outcome of his trial.

There has been substantial coverage of the Rathore case in the national media, both electronic and print, since December 21, when the trial court delivered its judgment and sentenced Rathore to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs.1,000. What the trial judge referred to in his judgment was the period before, during and after the trial, which lasted more than a decade.

Indeed, the national media were guilty of ignoring this case and its ramifications all these years. Obviously, whatever little coverage of the case was there in the local media had no impact on the judge. Still, the question raised by Rathore cannot be dismissed easily. The issues it raises need to be discussed objectively to examine whether the continued dissemination of news and analysis about the Rathore case in the media constitutes trial by media.

The term “trial by media” is not easy to define. It is a misnomer insofar as the media does not conduct a trial akin to the one conducted by courts. However, disproportionate publicity about a crime in the media may result in innocents being condemned, or the guilty not getting a fair trial or getting a higher sentence than what they perhaps deserved.

It is pointed out that if the media carry reports prejudicial to a person who has been arrested, it affects the right of that person to a fair trial.

There is genuine concern that any prejudicial publication or broadcast in the media about a person after his or her arrest may cause substantial prejudice in the criminal proceedings that must be taken to be imminent, irrespective of whether the person is released later. However, it is the media’s steadfast investigation that brought to light several aspects of Rathore’s high-handedness, which had gone unreported earlier, let alone be investigated by the police and prosecuted in a court of law.

The question about the extent of media restraint in the case is important and needs to be answered in the light of the current legal position. In a situation where fresh FIRs have been filed against him and his arrest is imminent, it can be asked whether the media can continue to cover the cases against Rathore with a perceived prejudice against him. Section 3 (2) of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, read with its explanation, excludes from criminal contempt all publications made before the filing of a charge sheet or challan in court or before the issue of summons or warrant, even if such publications interfere or tend to interfere with the course of justice. Although it is pointed out that imminent criminal proceedings following the arrest of a person should be the starting point of restraint by the media, the law as it stands today favours taking into account the filing of a charge sheet to consider when the media ought to restrain itself, in order not to restrict unduly the freedom of expression during the period from the filing of FIRs and arrest of a person to the filing of charge sheets.

The Law Commission’s 200th Report (2006) on Trial by Media points out that in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, any publication made in the print or broadcast on the electronic media after a person’s arrest, stating that the person arrested has previous convictions or that he has confessed to the crime during investigation or that he is indeed guilty, and the publication of his photograph are treated as prejudicial and as violative of due process required for a suspect who has to face a criminal trial.

The Law Commission observed: “If media exercises an unrestricted or rather unregulated freedom in publishing information about a criminal case and prejudices the mind of the public and those who are to adjudicate on the guilt of the accused and if it projects a suspect or an accused as if he has already been adjudged guilty well before the trial in court, there can be serious prejudice to the accused. In fact, even if ultimately the person is acquitted after the due process in courts, such an acquittal may not help the accused to rebuild his lost image in society.”

The Law Commission’s concerns are understandable, but the process of India’s criminal justice system is lengthy and its many flaws favour the accused rather than the victim. Therefore, there is a need to balance the rights of the accused to a fair trial with the rights of the media and the public to expose these flaws.

There is, however, one aspect on which the media has erred substantially while covering the Rathore case. They have, with a few exceptions, ignored Norm 14 of the Press Council of India’s guidelines, which says: While reporting crimes involving sexual offences and questions related to a woman’s privacy, the identity of the victim should not be disclosed.




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Divya Bhaskar Monday February 8th 2010
Monday, Feb 8th, 2010, 8:35 pm [IST]  

danik bhaskarરૂચિકા કેસ : અમદાવાદમાં રહેતા યુવકે રાઠોડને ચાકુ માર્યું

Agency, Chandigardh

rathorenewરૂચિકા ગિરહોત્રા છેડતી કેસમાં એક નવો જ વળાંક આવ્યો છે. આજે ચંદીગઢ સેસન્સ કોર્ટમાં આરોપી એસપીએસ રાઠોડને કોર્ટમાં રજૂ કરવામાં આવ્યો હતો. જ્યાં અમદાવાદમાં અભ્યાસ કરતા ઉત્સવ શર્મા નામના શખ્સે તેને ચાકૂ માર્યું હતું. 

રાઠોડને છરી મારનાર ઉત્સવ એનઆઇડીનો વિદ્યાર્થી હતો 
રાઠોડ પર ગુજરાતના યુવકનો હુમલો : તસવીરોમાં

જ્યારે આરોપી રાઠોડ કોર્ટની બહાર નિકળ્યો ત્યારે તેની પર ઉત્સવ શર્માએ ચાકુથી હુમલો કર્યો હતો. ઉપરાંત તેને મુક્કા પણ માર્યા હતા. જેમાં રાઠોડને સામાન્ય ઇજા પહોંચી છે. હાઇ પ્રોફાઇલ કેસની સુનાવણી વખતે મોટી સંખ્યામાં પોલીસ હાજર હતી. છતાં હુમલો કરવામાં આરોપી સફળ રહ્યો હતો. તેણે હાથમાં કેમેરો રાખ્યો હતો જેના કારણે પોલીસે તેને મિડિયાનો માણસ ધારી લીધો હતો. 

પોલીસ હુમલાખોરની ધરપકડ કરી તેને સેક્ટર-17ના પોલીસ સ્ટેશને લઇ ગઇ હતી. જ્યાંથી મળતી માહિતી પ્રમાણે આ શખ્સ અમદાવાદમાં ફિલ્મ નિર્માણનો કોર્ષ કરે છે. તેનું નામ ઉત્સવ શર્મા મુળ વારાણસીનો છે. તેણે શા માટે તેણે હુમલો કર્યો તે દિશામાં પોલીસ તપાસ કરી રહી છે. દરમિયાન ભૂતપૂર્વ પોલીસ અધિકારી રાઠૌરને સામાન્ય ઇજા પહોંચી છે. છતાં તેને સારવાર અર્થે સેક્ટર-16ની હોસ્પિટલમાં લઇ જવામાં આવ્યો હતો.

દરમિયાન રૂચિકા કેસમાં એકમાત્ર સાક્ષી આરાધનાએ લોકોને અપીલ કરી છેકે, તેઓ રૂચિકાને ન્યાય અપાવવા માટે કાયદો અને વ્યવસ્થાને હાથમાં ન લે અને તેનું સન્માન કરે. તેને દેશના કાયદામાં પૂરો ભરોસો હોવાનું પણ આરાધનાએ ઉમેર્યું હતું.


Monday, Feb 8th, 2010, 7:41 pm [IST]  

danik bhaskarરાઠોડ પર હુમલો તસવીરોમાં...

Divyabhaskar

રુચિકા છેડછાડ કેસમાં ફસાયેલા હરિયાણાના પૂર્વ ડીજીપી એસપીએસ રાઠોર પર હુમલો ત્યારે થયો જ્યારે તે પોતાની પત્ની આભા અને વકીલ અજીત કુમાર સિંહની સાથે લંચ માટે બહાર જઈ રહ્યા હતાં. દિવ્યભાસ્કર અત્રે વરિષ્ઠ ફોટો જર્નલિસ્ટ ઉપેન્દ્ર સેન ગુપ્તના કેમેરાથી રાઠોર પર થયેલ હુમલાની તસવીરો પ્રસારિત કરી રહ્યું છે... 










સંબંધિત સમાચાર

રાઠૌર પર હુમલો કરનાર NIDનો વિદ્યાર્થી  


You Tube on Ruchika Girhotra and her Molester Rathore 


You Tube has a number of video clips on Ruchika Girhotra case including the one that shows a young man is attacking him as he was going to the court. See the following You Tube links:. 


Teen-molester-cop Rathore says, 'I will smile more'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czdNsIwmUxA&feature=related 

Ruchika's Father on Rahtore's Smile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7cz3tcV6DQ&NR=1 

A man stabs Rathore outside the Court 

Justice for Ruchika: How can you help.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAgJ2W9pMZY&feature=channel

Ruchika's Case: Mockery of Justice 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow-cJ7a86XI&NR=1



Justice for Ruchika BBC World Service

Aradhana Prakash with Richuka's photo


In 1990, a 14 year old girl from India's Haryana state alleged that she was molested at her tennis club by the president of the club. He also happened to be a senior police officer. When Ruchika Girhotra's family lodged an official complaint they claimed that the officer, Shambhu Pratap Singh Rathore, used his influence to harass them. Three years after the alleged assault, Ruchika committed suicide and her family went into hiding.

Almost two decades later, in December 2009, Mr Rathore was convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment for molesting the teenager. However, he hasn't done the time because he was granted interim bail and he still denies all charges that have been made against him.

Ruchika's friend, Aradhana Prakash was with her at the time of the attack and has been campaigning on her behalf ever since. Aradhana now lives in Australia. She tells Outlook about the effect it has had on her life and why she is so committed to campaigning on her friend's behalf.






Ruchika Girhotra Case

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File photo of Ruchika Girhotra

The Ruchika Girhotra Case involves the molestation of 14 year old Ruchika Girhotra in 1990 by the Director General of Police Shambhu Pratap Singh Rathore in Haryana, India. After she made a complaint, the victim, her family, and her friends were systematically harassed by the police leading to her eventual suicide. On December 22, 2009, after 19 years, 40 adjournments, and more than 400 hearings, the court finally pronounced Rathore guilty under Section 354 IPC (molestation) but only sentenced him to six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000.[1][2]

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Background

Ruchika, the daughter of SC Girhotra, a bank manager, was a student in Class X A (Batch of 1991) at Sacred Heart School for Girls in Chandigarh. Her mother passed away when she was ten years old.[3][4] She had one brother, Ashu.

She, along with her friend Aradhana prakash, was enrolled as a trainee at the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA).[5]

Aradhana's parents Anand and Madhu Parkash attended over 400 hearings, after Ruchika's father and brother had to leave Panchkula due to harrasment. Supreme Court lawyers Pankaj Bhardwaj and Meet Malhotra fought the case for free since 1996.[5][6]

Born in 1941 and a 1966-Batch Indian Police Service officer of the Haryana Cadre, Rathore was on deputation to Bhakhra Beas Management Board as Director, Vigilance and Security, when he molested Ruchika. He was the founding president of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association, and Rathore used the garage of his house at 496 Sector 6, Panchkula, as it's office. [7] The house used to have a clay tennis court behind it, built by encroaching on government land. A few young girls played in this court.[5]Action by local authorities later led to the tennis court being reduced to a badminton court.[8]

Rathore's wife Abha is an advocate. She defended his case from the beginning.[5] She practises law in Panchkula and Chandigarh from her office in Sector 6, Panchkula.[9] Ajay Jain is another counsel for Rathore.[10]

Rathore's daughter Priyanjali was Ruchika's classmate. She is now a practising lawyer.[3] His son Rahul used to practise law at the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He is an advocate with Cox & Kings in Mumbai.[11]

Sub-Inspector Prem Dutt and Assistant Sub-Inspectors Sewa Singh and Jai Narayan of the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) Staff Office in Mansa Devi tortured Ashu under the directions of Rathore.[12][13]

Sewa Singh is currently the Assistant Station House Officer of Pinjore police station. He has not reported for work since the sentencing of Rathore created national headlines.[14] He lives in Ratpur colony in Pinjore. Ajay Jain is also serving as his counsel.[14][15]

[edit] Molestation

SPS Rathore in uniforms

Ruchika was a promising tennis player. On August 11, 1990, Rathore visited Ruchika's house and met her father SC Girhotra. As head of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association, he promised to get special training for Ruchika. He requested that Ruchika meet him the following day in connection with this. [16]

On August 12 (Sunday), Ruchika, along with her friend Aradhana ([Aradhana Prakash]), went to play at the lawn tennis court and met Rathore in his office (in the garage of his house). On seeing both of them, Rathore asked Aradhana to call the tennis coach (Mr.Thomas) to his room. Aradhana left, and Rathore was alone with Ruchika. He immediately grabbed her hand and waist and pressed his body against hers. Ruchika tried to push him away, but he continued molesting her.[16]

But Aradhana returned and witnessed what was going on. On seeing her, Rathore released Ruchika and fell back in his chair. He then asked Aradhana to go out of his room and personally bring the coach with her. When she refused, Rathore rebuked Aradhana loudly, asking her to bring the coach. He insisted that Ruchika stayed in his room, but she managed to run out.[16]

Ruchika told Aradhana everything that happened. Both girls did not tell anybody at first. The next day, they did not go to play tennis. The following day, August 14, they changed the time of practice to avoid Rathore, and played till 6:30 pm. However, as they were leaving, the ball picker, Patloo, told them Rathore had called them to his office. It was at this point that the girls decided to tell their parents about the incident.[16] [17]

Following this, Panchkula residents, mostly parents of tennis players, gathered at the residence of Anand Prakash, father of Ruchika's friend Aradhana, and decided that some strong action must be taken by way of bringing up the matter with higher authorities.

They could not contact either CM Hukum Singh or Home Minister Sampat Singh, but met Home Secretary J K Duggal, who, on August 17, 1990, discussed the matter with the Home Minister and asked DGP Ram Rakshpal Singh to investigate.[18][19]

Rathore allegedly paid some residents of Rajiv Colony (a slum) in Panchkula and also garnered the support of people from his community in Naraingarh, Ambala district. They staged dharnas outside the office and home of RR Singh.[20]

On September 3, 1990, the inquiry report submitted by RR Singh to Home Secretary J K Duggal indicted Rathore.[18] It recommended that an FIR be filed immediately against Rathore. Duggal forwarded the report to the Home Minister Sampat Singh, who failed to forward it to the Chief Minister for necessary action.[21] The Home Secretary who replace Duggal never followed up on the report.[21]

The report also revealed that an ex-MLA, Jagjeet Singh Tikka and ex-M.P. from Moradabad Chandravijay Singh who is also related to Rathore, organised a large group of men to shout slogans in front of Ruchika's house and harass her family.[21] Rathore enjoyed the patronage of both the Hukam Singh and the Om Prakash Chautala governments. [22][23][24]

Instead of filing an FIR as recommended by the report, the government preferred departmental action, and, on May 28, 1991, issued a chargesheet against Rathore. However, the government's legal remembrancer, R. K. Nehru, suggested in 1992 that state government was not competent to issue the chargesheet, insisting that an FIR be registered. Then, the CM Bhajan Lal's office referred the case to chief secretary for advice. Eventually, no action was taken.[18]

[edit] Harrasment

On September 20, 1990, two weeks after the inquiry indicted Rathore, Ruchika was expelled from her school, Sacred Heart School for Girls, in Sector 26, Chandigarh. Ruchika had studied there from Class I.

The school actively plotted against Ruchika. The official reason for her expulsion was non-payment of fees. The school had actually refused to accept her fees. No notice was given to Ruchika for non-payment of fees, as is the school's normal procedure. The school's brochure states that non-payment of fees can only lead to being disallowed to take exams. It is not grounds for expulsion.[25][26]

A magisterial inquiry has found that there were 135 similar cases of non-payment of fees at Sacred Hearts, but Ruchika was the only student ever expelled on these grounds. Of the 17 cases of late fees in 1990, at least 8 students paid their fees later than Ruchika did, but no action was taken against them. Ironically, the defaulters included Rathore’s daughter Priyanjali. [27][28]

The principal of the school, Sister Sebastina, who still occupies the office, accepted to the magisterial inquiry that she personally issued instructions for the removal of Ruchika’s name from school register.[28]

Ruchika's expulsion from school was later used by Rathore's lawyers to question her character.

It has been alleged that Ruchika was expelled to avoid embarrassing Rathore's daughter Priyanjali, who was her classmate.[29]

The school tried to stall the magisterial inquiry into Ruchika's dismissal. Sister Sebastina only appeared before the inquiry after five days.[28] The Chandigarh authorities threatened the school with legal action if they continued to stall the investigation.[7]

After her expulsion, Ruchika confined herself indoors. Whenever she went out she was followed and abused by Rathore's henchmen.[30] Rathore deployed policemen in plainclothes in front of Ruchika's house to keep an eye on the family.[13]

False cases of theft, murder and civil defamation were filed against Ruchika's father and her 10 year old brother Ashu. Five theft cases against Ashu were registered by Sub-Inspector Prem Dutt and one case by Assistant Sub-Inspector Sewa Singh.[12]

The cases were filed when KP Singh was the Superintendent of Police, Ambala. Singh has been named in an FIR filed by Ashu.[31] Singh later provided Rathore's advocates a statement absolving Rathore.[32] Singh is now the Inspector General of Police (Training) in Haryana and works at the Chandigarh Head Office.[21]

Cases were filed against Anand Parkash, his wife Madhu, and their minor daughter Aradhana.

Anand Parkash worked as Chief Engineer in the Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board and had a spotless record until this incident. Rathore then instigated more than 20 complaints against him. He was suspended from his job for some time and demoted to Superintendent Engineer. He was eventually given premature retirement. He did, however, challenge the government orders and was given relief by the court and cleared of all the complaints.[33][34]

Aradhana, who is the sole witness in the molestation case, had ten civil cases filed against her by Rathore. She received abusive and threatening calls for months until she got married and left for Australia.[33] Pankaj Bhardwaj, the lawyer who took up Ruchika's case, was slapped with two court cases by Rathore -a defamation case and a case for compensation.[33]

When Rathore was heading the vigilance team in the Haryana State Electricity Board (HSEB), he sent special teams from Bhiwani to raid houses of several of his complainants.[33] Rathore also filed two cases against each of the journalists who had reported on the matter - one criminal and another civil - demanding compensation of Rs. 1 crore each.[33]

On September 23 1993, Ruchika's then 13 year old brother, Ashu, was picked up in the market place near his house by police in plain clothes. They drove him in a jeep to the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) Staff Office in Mansa Devi. There, he was tortured by Sub-Inspector Prem Dutt and Assistant Sub-Inspectors Sewa Singh and Jai Narayan.[12][13]

His hands were tied on his back and he was made to bend. His feet were tied with a weight. He was kept in this uncomfortable position for an extended period of time.[30]

After some time, Rathore also arrived there. Ashu was then tortured further. A roller, referred to by the police as "Mussal', was rolled on his legs and thighs after four constables boarded the roller. [35] [36]

While still in illegal confinement, Ashu was taken to his house and beaten mercilessly in front of Ruchika by Rathore. Rathore then threatened her, saying that if she did not take back the complaint, her father, and then she herself, would face the same fate. [37][38] Ashu was paraded in handcuffs in his neighbourhood.[39]

Ashu was picked up again on November 11, 1993. He was tortured again and was unable to walk due to the beatings. He was not given food or water for days at a stretch and was beaten mercilessly. He was repeatedly told to convince his sister to withdraw her complaint.[39] He was allegedly forced to sign on blank papers, which were used by the police to show his "confessions" that he stole 11 cars.[35] He would not be released until after his sister's suicide.[35]

No charges were ever framed in any of these cases filed against Ashu.[21]

The Panchkula Chief Judicial Magistrate exonerated Ashu in 1997, saying he had “no hesitation to pinpoint that nothing is on record to prima facie indict the accused” and that the disclosure statement made by the main accused, Gajinder Singh, was “just wastepaper”.[40]

Gajinder Singh, a resident of Bihar, had been arrested by the Panchkula Police for a car theft and police claimed he had named Ashu as his accomplices. Singh later absconded and was named a proclaimed offender.[41][40] He has been arrested by a team of Haryana Police assisted by their Pune counterparts on January 9, 2010 from the Baner Road area, where he was running a dhaba.[42]

The Girhotra's one-kanal bungalow in Sector 6 Panchkula was forcibly sold to a lawyer working for Rathore.[37] Ruchika's father was suspended from his job as bank manager, on charges of alleged corruption, after coercion from Rathore.[33] They moved to the outskirts of Simla, and had to take up earth filling to make a living.[43]

[edit] Suicide

On December 28, 1993, days after Ashu was paraded in handcuffs in his locality[12], Ruchika consumed poison. She died the next day. Rathore threw a party that night to celebrate. [44]

Rathore refused to release Ruchika's body to her father Subash unless he signed blank sheets of paper. The blank papers were later used by the police to establish that the family had accepted Ruchika's forged autopsy report. [45] Rathore also threatened to kill Ashu, who was still in illegal police custody. [13] At this time, Ashu was allegedly unconscious in CIA lock-up. He had been stripped naked and beaten the previous night by drunk policemen. He was brought back to his house, still unconscious, after Ruchika's last rites were over.[36][35]

In the inquest and the postmortem report, the name Ruchika was replaced with her nickname Ruby, and her father's name was changed to Subhash Chander Khatri.[46] This was to ensure that anyone reading the report would not know it pertains to Ruchika.[47]

The government closed the case filed against Rathore less than a week after her death.[48]

Unable to bear the harassment, her family moved out of Chandigarh.[2]

Just a few months later, Rathore was promoted to additional DGP in November 1994, when Bhajan Lal was chief minister. [24]

[edit] Case Dropped

In November 1994, Rathore was promoted. No action was taken on the inquiry report. Anand Parkash started trying to get copy of the report. After 3 years, he finally obtained it in 1997, and in November, moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court. On August 21, 1998, the High Court directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry.

In Oct 1999, the INLD government led by Om Prakash Chautala made Rathore the police chief (DGP) of the state.[24] His name was even recommended for a President’s Police Medal For Distinguished Service by the same government in November 1999.[49] Birbal Das Dhalia, who as then Home Secretary, defended the decision, saying there was no chargesheet.[50]

Shanta Kumar, who was then vice-president of the BJP, in 2000, wrote a letter to Om Prakash Chautala, urging him to take strict action against Rathore in the case.

However, instead of acting on the letter, Chautala complained to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee about it. Shanta Kumar was the Minister for Consumer Affairs in the NDA government at the time. Chautala's Indian National Lok Dal was an alliance partner.[51]

[edit] Ashu Case

Ashu's case had reached before the HC following suo motu cognizance taken of a media report highlighting his plight[44], by justice Mehtab Singh Gill on December 12, 2000. The then chief justice had referred the matter before a division bench comprising justice N K Sodhi and justice N K Sood.[46]

While deposing before the division bench, Ashu stated that he had undergone inhuman treatment at the instance of Rathore and the Panchkula police. This was his first statement since the family was forced to leave Panchkula. At the time of making the statement, the family was living in Sector-2, New Shimla.[46]

On December 13, 2000, the division bench voiced support for compensation to Ashu for the harassment caused to him at the hands of Panchkula police. [41]

Rathore filed an affidavit in 2001 denying the allegations.[30]

The HC then referred the inquiry to sessions judge Patiala. On September 3, 2002, Ashu detailed the torture he was put through to a Patiala Sessions Court.[30][46]

But Rathore approached the Supreme Court and got the high court order quashed on technical grounds.[36]

[edit] CBI Inquiry

On August 21, 1998, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry.

The High Court had ordered completion of investigation of the case and filing of chargesheet expeditiously, “preferably within six months”.[52] However, more than a year passed before the CBI filed a chargesheet.[52]

On November 16, 2000, the CBI filed a charge sheet against Rathore.

Despite the CBI chargesheet, the Chautala government allowed Rathore to continue as police chief. [24]

The case was put to hearing in the CBI special court in Ambala from November 17. The hearings in Ambala would continue till May 2006.[24]

The chargesheet was filed only under Section 354 (molestation). Abetment to suicide was inexplicably not included.[52]

On October 8, 2001, counsel for Anand Parkash moved an application demanding the addition of abetment to suicide (306 of IPC) against Rathore. Rathore argued that Prakash had no standing to move the court [1].

However, in a scathing judgment on October 23, 2001, Special CBI Judge Jagdev Singh Dhanjal demanded that the offence be added. In his 21-page judgement, the CBI Judge underlined witness statements, including those of Ruchika’s father, Anand Parkash, friend Aradhana and others in adding Section 306 (abetment) of IPC against Rathore.[53][54] Dhanjal was forced to take premature retirement two years later.[6]

However, in February 2002, Justice K. C. Kathuria of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the CBI court's decision to register an FIR against Rathore for abetment to suicide, claiming the lack of a complaint regarding harassment. [41] Justice Kathuria was a neighbour of the Girhotras, with whom he was engaged in a property dispute.[6]

In another glaring conflict of interest, he was also a close relative of defence witness O. P. Kathuria. This O. P. Kathuria is an associate of Rathore. He had served as secretary of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association which was floated by Rathore.[6]

Justice Kathuria is now the President of the Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

Incredibly, after filing the chargesheet in 2000, the CBI took 7 years to record evidence from 16 prosecution witnesses. On the other hand, the defence counsel took nine months to complete examination of 13 out of the total 17 witnesses.[52]

Rathore tried to use his influence with the CBI. R M Singh, who was CBI Joint Director in 1998 and retired in 2001, said Rathore was tracking the case. Once the file arrived at Singh's desk, he started getting frequent visits to his office from Rathore. Rathore visited multiple times in 1998, trying to influence the CBI to clear him on all charges. Rathore had learnt that Singh was constructing a house in Gurgaon, and offered to provide building materials and other assistance. Singh also found out that Rathore had also approaced the Investigating Officer for the case, Rajesh Ranjan, CBI's Deputy Superintendent of Police. When he failed to influence the officers, Rathore had the case transferred. Rathore enjoyed access to all levels of the CBI since he was DGP.[44][55]

Ruchika's was one of the few cases heard in three subordinate courts of three different states: Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh - apart from one in high court and the Supreme Court as well. Around 15 applications were accepted in Punjab and Haryana High Court on behalf of Rathore, a strategy meant to delay the case.[56]

For example, on January 23, 2006, Rathore moved an application demanding transfer of trial from Ambala CBI Special Magistrate Ritu Garg to any other court. The application was moved when evidence of only two prosecution witnesses was remaining. The grounds claimed was that Rathore knew Ritu's father and that Rathore's son Rahul was a friendly with Ritu.[57] Surprisingly, the CBI didn’t object. In his the reply filed in February 2006, S S Lakra, the then Additional Superintendent of Police, New Delhi, said he did not object to the transfer, allegedly so the case would "conclude expeditiously". The case was then transferred to Patiala.[57] Again when the case was at the last stage, Rathore accused the then Special CBI Judge, Patiala, Rakesh Kumar Gupta of overawing the defence witnesses and scolding Rathore. This time also the CBI did not object to transferring of the case to Chandigarh.[57]

Rathore also used other technical grounds like demanding that the trial be videographed to cause more delays. Ironically, he later claimed that the long delays were grounds for a reduced sentence.[58]

On November 5, 2009, the case was transferred from the Ambala court to CBI Chandigarh. In December, the court closed all final arguments, gave its verdict and on December 21, special judge J.S. Sidhu[59] pronounced a six-month jail sentence and a fine of Rs 1000 to Rathore. The sentence has been suspended upto January 20, 2010.[60] [7]

He was granted bail minutes after the sentencing, after furnishing a bail bond of Rs.10,000. Rathore's wife Abha has said they will be appealing the sentence on January 4, 2010.[35]

[edit] Impact

The case was brought up for debate in Parliament. "After 19 years, the criminal has been found guilty but all he got as punishment was 6 months in prison. Within 10 minutes of conviction, he was out on bail. Is it not a shame for all of us?" asked CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat.[61]

Former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala, when asked about the case, dismissed it as a "frivolous issue". It was during his rule that Rathore was promoted to police chief (DGP) for Haryana. After the public outcry over the case, Chautala backtracked and accused the courts and the ruling Congress Government in Haryana of "letting Rathore off with a light punishment."[62] Ruchika's father has blamed Chautala for actively supporting Rathore as he harassed his family.[63]

Aradhna Parkash has started a signature drive to reopen the case. The email address is ‘joinaradhna4ruchika at gmail.com’.[64]

However, the power of the law seems to be grabbing hold of the DGP SPS Rathore, who will be stripped off his police medal. The decision to take back Rathore's police medal, given to the police officer for meritorious service in August, 1985, was taken by a committee

[edit] Political interference and pleas-for-hanging

Nine years after the molestation of Ruchika Girhotra, accused SPS Rathore had told then chief minister of Haryana, Bansi Lal, in 1999 that three chief ministers had “saved” him while his “mala fide intentions had led to the passing of adverse order by the high court against him”. Rathore had also charged Bansi Lal of colluding with Madhu Anand, family friend of Ruchika who helped them fight the case. The Times of India is in possession of a copy of the letter — dated August 9, 1999 — Rathore wrote to then financial commissioner (home) and asserted as much.[65]

With support for this teenaged molestation victim Ruchika Girhotra coming from all quarters, her family and friends are now seeking the death penalty for former Haryana top cop SPS Rathore, who molested her and allegedly hounded her till she killed herself. Ruchika's father Subhash Chander Girhotra said that Rathore should be hanged till death.[66]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. ^ Ruchika Girhotra Case: Molestation of Minor, Abuse of Power
  2. ^ a b Ruchika Case: Womens Association Upset With Verdict
  3. ^ a b How her world came apart bit by bit..., The Tribune, Chandigarh
  4. ^ Cops made Ruchika's nanny pose as mum?, Times of India
  5. ^ a b c d The Ruchika Girhotra Case, Hindustan Times
  6. ^ a b c d Baffling twists & turns helped Rathore, India Today
  7. ^ a b c Rathore ‘abandoned’ by his buddies, Thaindian News
  8. ^ Molestor, Murderer, Rapist: Sector 6 has seen them all, Sindh Today
  9. ^ Abha Rathore, Attorney
  10. ^ Hype can’t be sustained on facts: Rathore lawyer, Indian Express
  11. ^ Rahul Rathore
  12. ^ a b c d Brothers Handcuffed Parade After False Cases Pushed Ruchika to the Edge, Indian Express
  13. ^ a b c d I was threatened to immediately cremate Ruchika or lose my son as well, father recalls in complaint, Indian Express
  14. ^ a b Another accused cop seeks relief, Times of India
  15. ^ Co-accused policeman absent without leave for ten days, Express India
  16. ^ a b c d Ruchika's affidavit: Rathore pressed his body against mine, India Today
  17. ^ Beyond the uproar, Sunday Tribune
  18. ^ a b c Skeletons falling out of Haryana govt closet, Times of India
  19. ^ Rathore tried all tricks, Hindustan Times
  20. ^ CBI to re-probe Rathore's role in Ruchika case, ZeeNews
  21. ^ a b c d e Ruchika Molestation Case: The Rogues Gallery, IBN Live
  22. ^ We Need Security Says Ruchika Girhotras Family, Gaea Times
  23. ^ Ruchika Case: Rathore Used Political Influence Says Former Home Secy, Times of India
  24. ^ a b c d e Rathore Enjoyed Patronage of Four Haryana Chief Ministers, Hindustan Times
  25. ^ Ruchika Expulsion Was Against School Norms, Times of India
  26. ^ From School To CM All Ganged Up All Try to Dodge Now, Express India
  27. ^ [http://www.indianexpress.com/news/sacred-heart-principal-to-be-quizzed-today/561792/ Sacred Heart principal to be quizzed today, Indian Express]
  28. ^ a b c Ruchika's expulsion from school wrong: Rpt, Zee News
  29. ^ Ruchika embarrassed Rathore daughter Priyanjali? , NDTV
  30. ^ a b c d I was tortured: Ruchika’s brother. Court papers bare agony, Telegraph India
  31. ^ I am Rathore's victim: Ruchika's brother, IBN Live
  32. ^ Ruchika case: Rathore finds loopholes to counter charges, Times of India
  33. ^ a b c d e f Rathore made life hell for Ruchika's family, pals, DNA India
  34. ^ Ruchika: Justice delayed & denied, Zee News
  35. ^ a b c d e Rathore tortured me: Ruchika's brother, Times Now
  36. ^ a b c CBI Ignored Torture Charges Made by Ruchika's Brother, India Today
  37. ^ a b I’ll keep the fight going, says mother of Ruchika’s friend, Daily Poineer
  38. ^ Behind the silence of Ruchika’s family, a tale of harassment lurks, Indian Express
  39. ^ a b Ruchika molestation case: 'I was terrorised, beaten mercilessly', says Ruchika's brother, Daily India
  40. ^ a b Charges against her brother just ‘wastepaper,’ court had ruled, Times of India
  41. ^ a b c Legal see-saw in lengthy trial, Times of India
  42. ^ Accused in fake car theft case against Ruchika's brother arrested, Times of India
  43. ^ Ruchika’s family sold house, went to Shimla, Indian Express
  44. ^ a b c How the CBI botched up Ruchika case, India Today
  45. ^ Ruchika's dad alleges he was forced to sign blank papers by Rathore's men, India Today
  46. ^ a b c d Ruchika Changed to Ruby in Inquest Report, Times of India
  47. ^ Chidambaram summons family lawyer to Delhi, Times of India
  48. ^ What Rathore Said-and-the Government Backed, Express India
  49. ^ Centre looks at way to strip Rathore of his Police Medal, Indian Express
  50. ^ Home Secy who sought medal for Rathore is in Chautala’s party, Indian Express
  51. ^ 'I wrote to Chautala, he complained to Vajpayee', Mid Day
  52. ^ a b c d http://www.indianexpress.com/news/CBI-took-7-years-to-examine-16-witnesses/559977/ CBI took 7 years to examine 16 witnesses, Indian Express]
  53. ^ Family lawyer will move HC to re-open case, Indian Express
  54. ^ Ruchika case: Did CBI blunt probe to favour Rathore?, India Today
  55. ^ Rathore tried to influence me for favourable report: Ex-CBI officer, Indian Express
  56. ^ DGP's flip-flops led to his conviction, Times of India
  57. ^ a b c With frivolous pleas, Rathore delayed verdict in case, CBI never objected, Times of India
  58. ^ Charges against Rathore not serious enough?, NDTV
  59. ^ Top Cop Gets Away With Murder, Asian Tribune
  60. ^ Ruchika molestation: Ex-DGP gets 6 months in jail, One India
  61. ^ Parliament rocked over Ruchika case, MPs demand strict action, MyNews.in
  62. ^ Chautala U-turn: 'Frivolous', then 'not harsh enough', Times of India
  63. ^ Former Haryana CM aided molester DGP, says Ruchika’s dad, Hindustan Times
  64. ^ Signature drive launched in Ruchika molestation case, Gulf Times
  65. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/3-Haryana-CMs-saved-me-Rathore/articleshow/5411620.cms
  66. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/northindia/Hang-Rathore-says-Ruchika-s-father/492505/H1-Article1-492052.aspx
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Aradhna's Website Justice 4 Ruchika Please have a look at this site details which Ruchika's friend Aradhna has provided. 

http://www.justice4ruchika.com/?page_id=2

BBC News Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010  

India 'sex crime' ex-police officer's bail rejected

SPS Rathore
Mr Rathore was sentenced to six months in prison

A court in India's Haryana state has rejected the bail application of a former senior police officer convicted of molesting a 14-year-old girl.

Legal experts say this means Mr SPS Rathore can be arrested any time now.

Mr Rathore was convicted last month and sentenced to six months in jail for molesting Ruchika Girhotra who later committed suicide.

He now stands accused of "abetment to suicide" and charging Miss Girhotra's brother with fabricated cases of theft.

If convicted, he could get a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Last week, the government decided to strip him of his police medal.

'Matter of hours'

"The court has dismissed his bail application," Ruchika's lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj told reporters after the court order.

"The implication is very clear - Mr Rathore can be arrested immediately. It's not a matter of days anymore, it's a matter of hours. Now it is the duty of the state to arrest him."

"Justice has prevailed. Now Rathore should be arrested immediately so that the truth can come out," said Anand Prakash, whose daughter Aradhana was Ruchika's friend and the only witness to the molestation.

Ruchika Girhotra complained in 1990 that she was assaulted by Mr Rathore.

Three years later she committed suicide, after she and her family were allegedly the subject of a campaign of harassment.

Mr Rathore's six month sentence and the accompanying fine of 1,000 rupees ($22) led to outrage in India with Ruchika's family and activists saying the police officer got away with a "very light punishment".

The latest charge of "abetment to suicide" was filed under Section 306 of Indian law which makes it a non-bailable offence.


Rathore gets interim bail in Ruchika case
... (CBI) in connection with the 1990 molestation of teenager Ruchika Girhotra... from the history,” CBI lawyer Anmol Rattan Sidhu argued in court. ...


EKTA SHARMA
S.P.S. Rathore after the Ruchika verdict
LAW: SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Gun Minus Fire
The law on rape is still an impotent being

Wither Justice?
  • The cabin crew of the national carrier levelled charges against the pilot and co-pilot for molesting an airhostess on Dec 4, 2009, while in air.
  • 23-yr-old molestation victim humiliated in an Ahmedabad city court. Questioned in a humiliating manner, she went and complained to the Chief Justice in Sep ’09
  • A Finnish woman tourist was molested in Jaipur by three people in Aug ’09. Two are still absconding. One is out on bail.
  • A 27-year-old Indian documentary filmmaker escaped sexual assault as she was coming out of the 34th International Film Festival in Delhi on Oct 14, ’03.

***

One would have thought the Ruchika Girhotra case—in which the young schoolgirl was molested by ex-Haryana DGP S.P.S. Rathore and consequently driven to suicide—would have triggered a renewed urgency to make sexual harassment laws stricter. Sadly, there has been little action despite repeated calls from civil society—and beyond. Exhaustive recommendations by the Law Commission to modify Section 375 of the IPC, which deals with sexual harassment and rape, are still shuttling between the Union law and home ministries.

Although the law ministry has agreed to one of the recommendations—namely, having separate courts for harassment cases—women’s rights groups are calling for even more amendments to make the penal code stronger. Kirti Singh, a former member of the Law Commission and a contributor to the 172nd report it filed on amendments to Sec 375, toldOutlook, “We met the law minister recently. I do hope this time the government will look at amending the law seriously. If not, many more cases like Rathore’s will come up and they’ll be let off with minor punishment.”

Those petitioning for changes in Sec 375 point to one crucial flaw: according to this clause, rape is defined technically only in terms of “penile vaginal penetration”. Other cases of physical assaults and mental torture are dealt under Sec 354 and 509, making them “less important”. In fact, the home ministry, in one of its recent advisories, admitted that rape and sexual harassment cases have not been handled with sensitivity.

The Law Commission recommended changing the focus from rape to ‘sexual assault’ as its definition goes beyond just forced intercourse to include penetration by any part of the body and objects. Its report also called for the deletion of Sec 155(4) of the Indian Evidence Act which requires a rape victim to be cross-examined about her ‘general immoral character’ and sexual history. It suggested graded sentences, with higher punishment for rape committed by relatives of the victim and by persons in ‘trust or authority’, including public servants.

 
 
Most rape victims find the tone of policemen offensive and baulk at the times they have to narrate their ordeals.
 
 
In a six-page advisory issued in September last year, the home ministry termed the situation as “very grim and disappointing”. “Complaints are still being received regarding non-registration of FIRs and (the) unsympathetic attitude of police personnel towards rape victims and victims of violence,” it pointed out. It also called on the states to strengthen measures required to make women feel more secure. The 2007 report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), published by MHA, records an ominously steady rise in the graph of the number of registered cases of rape countrywide, going up to at 20,737 that year. The number of registered molestation and sexual harassment cases, similarly, stood at 38,734 and 10,950 respectively.

A recent study conducted by ngo Swanchetan found that 92 per cent of the women they contacted described the criminal justice system as being “insensitive”. They were particularly offended by the tone of police officers while being questioned and by the number of times they were asked to narrate their ordeal. “Eighty per cent of these women said they grew more sceptical of the justice system as in many cases even after six months there was no hope for justice,” says Swanchetan director Rajat Mitra.

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat reacts sharply to the delay in amendments to Sec 375, “Unfortunately, the government is least concerned about the plight of children and women...they don’t form an important political constituency.” Children can’t vote. And even women find themselves disenfranchised here.


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FRIDAY, JANUARY 1, 2010

Ruchika Girhotra Molestation case is a wake-up call for country: Join in the Campaign

Ruchika's friend Aradhana, who has been campaigning for justice, says the case is a wake-up call for the entire system and that the whole country should join in the campaign. If you are part of this campaign and want to support Ruchika's friend Aradhana & her family, pls post your comments/views here and let us know what you think about this case.

Ruchika Girhotra, a promising tennis player, was molested by Rathore, the then Inspector General of Police in 1990. She committed suicide three years later by consuming poison. "The guilt of the convict has already been proved upto hilt. The allegations against the convict were that he assaulted and used criminal force against victim Ms. Ruchika with intention to outrage her modesty and during this process, he caught hold of her hand and with his other hand caught hold of her waist, dragged her towards him and embraced her against her will and thereby outraged her modesty," the Special CBI Magistrate Jasbir Singh Sidhu said in his 97-page order.

S C Girhotra, Ruchika's father, accused Chautala of shielding Rathore in the case.

14-year-old Ruchika, a budding tennis player, was molested in 1990 by Rathore, the then Inspector General of Police. She committed suicide three years later by consuming poison. Her family said she took this step after facing harassment from Rathore. She was expelled from her school and false cases were slapped against her brother, they said.

Rathore was helt guilty for molesting Ruchika by a CBI court which sentenced him on Monday to six months rigorous imprisonmment. Rathore was granted bail the same day.Girhotra has demanded that the former DGP should be punished for abetment to suicide instead of being let off with a lighter six month sentence.

Former DGP of Haryana, R R Singh, said that former home minister Sampat Singh delayed the process in the Ruchika molestation case. He also said that the inquiry clearly revealed Ruchika was molested and that he constantly insisted that action must be taken against Rathore.

Here are links of all the Ruchika Girhotra Molestation case video's, which I have found on various news sites:
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17th January 2010 Mid Day ( A Mumbai Paper) Reports a rape case invovling Komal Singh 

'Komal will die like Ruchika' From Mid Day 

By: Bipin Kumar Singh Date:  2010-01-04 Place: Mumbai






Fear family members of Air India stewardess who was allegedly molested

Komal Singh, the Air India (AI) stewardess who had filed a complaint alleging she was molested by two pilots in October last year, is reportedly following the developments in the Ruchika Girhotra case. 

She feels she too may have to commit suicide to prove the culprit's guilt, say family members.

Since the airline has restricted her from speaking to the media, Komal refused to comment. However, elder sister Poonam (28) said, "She is very upset with the Ruchika case.
 
She spends most of her time watching television for updates on the case. We hope she will not do what Ruchika did."

Traumatised: Molestation victim Komal Singh has been intently following the case of Ruchika Girhotra


Hema (44), Komal's mother, said, "A high–level agency should investigate my daughter's case. 

I want her to overcome this trauma, otherwise I fear it will take her life. Like Ruchika, she produced all the proof, but AI is sitting on it to protect the culprits. 

The decision of the National Commission for Women to support AI killed her hopes. We are not going to give up. It's is a matter of dignity of an innocent girl."

Added Poonam, "We are waiting for the chargesheet based on Komal's FIR to be filed so we can take the next step."




NEWS » NATIONAL Hindustan Times 

AHMEDABAD, January 28, 2010

Untouchability still prevalent in rural Gujarat: survey

MANAS DASGUPTA
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A woman of the Ramnami sect of untouchables, who tattooed their entire bodies with the name of the lord for not being allowed to enter a temple. File photo
APA woman of the Ramnami sect of untouchables, who tattooed their entire bodies with the name of the lord for not being allowed to enter a temple. File photo

Despite tall talk of progress and development, the practice of untouchability is still prevalent in rural areas of Gujarat.

This was found in a survey by the Navsarjan Trust and the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights. It was carried out over three years in randomly selected 1,589 villages in the State. The compiled report of the findings was released here on Wednesday by University Grants Commission Chairman S.K. Thorat.

The report said that not only was untouchability practised against Dalits by caste Hindus, it was practised by the relatively ‘upper’ sub-caste Dalits against the ‘lower’ sub-caste Dalits. It said while 98 forms of untouchability was practised by caste Hindus against the Dalits, 99 forms of caste discrimination was found within the Dalit sub-castes.

Giving a few examples, the report said a Dalit woman was “assaulted” for trying to take part in a village “garba” dance organised by caste Hindus. Even the sarpanch, if he happened to be a Dalit, was expected to sit on the ground while caste Hindu panchayat members sat on a pedestal. The Dalit passengers were required to vacate the seats in government-owned State transport buses for non-Dalit passengers.

Marriages

It said inter-caste marriage was strictly prohibited in 98.4 per cent of the villages and such marriages within the Dalit sub-castes was found banned in 99.1 per cent of the villages. Any violation of the “rule” would invariably attract a violent reprimand against the defying couple, who were often forced to leave the village. Even in tea kiosks, cups and saucers were kept separately for the Dalits and such customers were required to clean their own utensils before putting the same back in the rack meant for the Dalits.

In schools, separate sitting arrangements were made for caste Hindus and Dalits for mid-day meal schemes. Dalit students were not served water in schools. They were expected to go home or carry their own water with them.

“The report shows that the existing legal system has failed to address the problem of untouchability and it is time for human rights activists to act strongly,” Navsarjan Trust executive director Manjula Pradeep said.

98 forms of untouchability practised by caste Hindus while 99 forms of discrimination found within Dalits

Inter-caste marriage strictly prohibited in 98.4 %; similar prohibition among Dalits in 99.1 % villages

Divya Bhaskar 28th Januaru 2010

danik bhaskarમાનસિક અસ્થિર યુવતી પર બળાત્કાર કરી ગર્ભ રાખી દીધો

Bhaskar News, Junagadh

rapeજૂનાગઢનાં લીરબાઈ પરામાં માતા-પિતા સાથે રહેતી માનસિક વિકલાંગ મહેર યુવતી ઉપર તેણીનાં સગા મામાનાં દીકરાએ સંડાસમાં લઈ જઈ ડૂચો દઈ બળાત્કાર કર્યાની ફરિયાદ પોલીસમાં નોધાઈ છે.



ભોગ બનનાર યુવતીને તાણ-આંચકી આવતાં ડોકટરને બતાવતાં તેણીને પાંચ માસનો ગર્ભ હોવાનું જાણવા મળતાં આખી ઘટના બહાર આવી હતી. જો કે, કાળું કામ કરનાર નરાધમ નાસી છૂટ્યો છે.



પોલીસમાંથી પ્રાપ્ત વિગતો મુજબ, જૂનાગઢનાં લીરબાઈ પરામાં રહેતા અને મોટી હવેલીમાં ચોકીદારનું કામ કરતા પરબતભાઈ આતાભાઈ ઓડેદરા અને તેમનાં પત્ની રોજ મજુરીએ ગયા બાદ તેમની ૨૧ વર્ષની માનસિક વિકલાંગ પુત્રી ઘરમાં એકલી હતી ત્યારે લીરબાઈ પરામાંજ રહેતો પરબતભાઈનાં સાળાનો દીકરો લાખા ભીખા કડછા (ઉ.વ.૧૮)તેમને ધેર આવ્યો હતો.



અને પોતાનાં ફઈની દીકરીને પટાવી પોતાને ધેર લઈ ગયો હતો. બાદમાં તેણીને સંડાસમાં લઈ જઈ મોઢે ડૂચો દઈ બળાત્કાર ગુજાર્યો હતો. દુનિયાદારીથી અજ્ઞાન એવી યુવતી ઉપર બળાત્કાર થવા છતાં ઘરમાં કોઈને કશી જાણ નહોતી થઈ.



દરમ્યાન થોડા દિવસો પહેલાં યુવતીને તાણ અને આંચકી આવતાં ડોકટરને બતાવતાં ડોકટરે તેણીને પાંચ માસનો ગર્ભ હોવાનું જણાવતાં પરબતભાઈ ઉપર જાણે આભ તુટી પડ્યું હતું.



ત્યાર બાદ યુવતીની માતાએ તેણીને પુછતાં યુવતીએ કાલીધેલી ભાષામાં રડતાં રડતાં યુવતીએ પોતાની વિતક કહી હતી. તેણીને સીવીલ હોસ્પિટલે ખસેડાયા બાદ પરબતભાઈએ લાખા સામે પોલીસમાં ફરિયાદ નોંધાવી છે.



જાણવા મળ્યા મુજબ, લાખો પોતાનાં માતા-પિતા અને નાનાભાઈ સાથે પરબતભાઈનાં ઘરથી નજીકમાં જ રહે છે. તે પોતે સેન્ટ્રીંગ કામની મજુરી કરે છે. જયારે તેનાં પિતા પથ્થરની ખાણમાં, માતા દાણાવીણવાની અને નાનોભાઈ ચાની દુકાનમાં મજુરી કામ કરે છે.



તમામ લોકો મજુરી કામે જતા હોઈ લાખાએ તકનો લાભ લીધો હોવાનું પોલીસનું અનુમાન છે. બનાવની તપાસ બી-ડીવીઝનનાં પીએસઆઈ પી.એ.મહેતા ચલાવી રહ્યાં છે.


  
Divya Bhaskar 28th January 2010 
Thursday, Jan 28th, 2010, 12:16 am [IST]  

danik bhaskarદેખ તેરે ઇન્સાનને ક્યા હાલત કી ભગવાન..

Navrang Sen

pak_04પાકિસ્તાનમાં રહેતી બુશરા જ્યારે બહાર જાય છે ત્યારે તેને પોતાના આખા શરીરને ઢાંકી દેવા માટે ખાસ બુરખો પહેરવો પડે છે. તે પોતાના ચહેરાને હંમેશા ઢાંકીને રાખે છે અને આમ કરવા પાછળનું કારણ એ નથી કે બુશરા મુસલમાન સ્ત્રી છે પરંતુ એ છે કે બુશરા લોકોને ડરાવવા નથી માંગતી. કારણકે તેને હંમેશા ભય રહે છે કે તેના ભયાનક ચહેરા પર ક્યાંક કોઇની નજર ન પડી જાય... પોતાની આ હાલત કઇ રીતે થઇ તેનું ચહેરા પર ભયની લાગણી સાથે જ્યારે બુશરા વર્ણન કરે છે ત્યારે ગમે તેવા પાષાણ હ્રદય ધરાવતા માનવીના પણ ઉભા થઇ જાય તેવી વ્યથાનો બુશરા ભોગ બની છે.

ભયભીત બુશરા લોકોને એમ કહે છે કે તેના ચહેરા પરના દાઝ્યાના નિશાન ઉકળતું દુધ તેના પર પડવાથી થયા છે પરંતુ હકીકત કાંઇક જૂદીજ છે. બુશરાની આ હાલત માટે જવાબદાર છે કોઇનો તેના પ્રત્યેનો ગુસ્સો, કોઇના દિલમાં તેના પ્રત્યે રહેલી દાઝ અને કોઇની લાલચ પુરી ન કરી શકવાની બુશરાને મળેલી એક મહાભયાનક સજા.

પંદર વર્ષ પહેલાની વાત છે, બુશરા પોતાના ભાઇના લગ્નની મસ્તીમાં મસ્ત હતી સંગીત અને હસીખુશીનો માહોલ હતો. આ શુભ પ્રસંગને ભરપુર રીતે માણીને પોતાના સાસરીયે પાછી ફરેલી બુશરાના લાલચી સારસરિયાઓએ તેની પાસે પૈસા માંગવાનું શરૂ કરી દીધું અને આ સાથેજ તેના જીવનમાં એક ખતરનાક વળાંક આવવાની શરૂઆત થઇ.

બુશરાના સાસરીયાઓની માંગ 50000 રૂપિયાની હતી પરંતુ આ અંગે બુશરાનો પોતાના સાસરિયાઓને સ્પષ્ટ જવાબ હતો કે ન તો તેની પાસે કે નતો તેના ભાઇઓ પાસે તેમને આપવા રૂપિયા છે. જોકે, બુશરાનો આ ખુલાસો તેના સાસરિયાઓ સાંભળી પોતાની માંગ ભૂલી જાય તેતો કોઇ કાળે શક્ય નહોતું. તેઓએ બુશરાને જૂઠ્ઠી કહીને તેની સાથે મારઝૂડ શરૂ કરી દીધી. ફૂલ જેવી કોમળ બુશરાને તેની સાસુ દોરડા વડે બાંધીને વાળ ખેંચીને ઢોર માર મારતી હતી. બુશરા માટે આ ઘટના રોજબરોજની થઇ પડી.

પણ મામલો આટલેથી ન અટકતા એવા પડાવે આવી પહોંચ્યો જેની બુશરાને કલ્પનામાત્ર નહોતી. એક દિવસ બુશરાને બાંધી દઇને તેના પતિએ એસિડમાં બોળેલા એક કપડાના ટૂકડાને બુશરાના ચહેરા પર ઠંડા કલેજે ફેરવી દીધું. પરંતુ બુશરાના નસીબમાં કદાચ હજૂ વધારે વેદના સહન કરવાનું લખ્યું હતું. પતિએ તો પોતાની ખુબસુરત પત્નીના ચહેરા પર એસિડ ઢોળીને પોતાની હેવાનિયતનો પરિચય આપી દીધો હતો પરંતુ આટલું ઓછું હોય તેમ પતિના કાકાએ પણ એસિડમાં બોળેલા એ કપડાંને તેના પતિ પાસેથી છીનવીને તેને બુશરાના અન્ય ભાગો પર પણ ફેરવવાનું શરૂં કર્યું તેણે જબરજસ્તી બુશરાનું મોઢું ખોલીને એસિડમાં બોળેલા તે કપડાંને તેમાં ઠુસી દીધું.

પારાવાર વેદના સહીને અધમુઇ થઇ ગયેલી બુશરા સાથે પછી શું થયું તેનું તો તેને ભાન નહોતું પરંતુ લોકોએ તેને જે કહ્યું તે કાંઇક આ પ્રમાણે હતું, ”બુશરાને અધમુઇ કરીને તેના સાસરિયાઓએ તેના શરીરને ઘરના પંખા સાથે બાંધી દીધું હતું અને પછી આખા ઘરને આગ ચાંપી દીધી ત્યારબાદ ગામના લોકોને જણાવ્યું કે બુશરાએ આત્મહત્યા કરવાની કોશીષ કરીછે જેમાં તેમનું ઘર પણ સળગી ગયું છે. અને ગામના લોકોએ બુશરાને અત્યંત દાઝી ગયેલી હાલતમાં હોસ્પિટલ ખસેડી.”

પોતાના પર ગુજારવામાં આવેલા પાશવી અત્યાચારની અસરમાંથી બહાર આવવા બુશરાને પુરૂં એક વર્ષ હોસ્પિટલમાં વિતાવવું પડ્યું. બુશરા હજૂ પણ તેના પર થયેલા અત્યાચારની અસરમાંથી બહાર નહોતી આવી અને વિધિની વ્યથા એ હતી કે તે પોતાની આંખો પણ ઉઘાડી શકતી નહોતી. 

આંખો ભલે બુશરાનો સાથ છોડી ચુકી હતી તેની શ્રવણશક્તિ હજૂપણ તેની સાથે હતી. પરંતુ કદાચ ભગવાને તેના કાન તેના દુ:ખમાં વધારો કરવા માટેજ સાજા છોડી દીધા હતા. હોસ્પિટલના બિછાને પડેલી બુશરા તેની આસપાસના લોકોને તેના અંગે વાત કરતા સાંભળી શકતી હતી અને તેના વિશે તેઓ શું વાત કરતા હતા તે જાણીને તેની આંધળી થઇ ગયેલી આંખોમાંથી આંસુ સરી પડતા હતા.

હોસ્પિટલમાંથી રજા મેળવીને બુશરા તેની બહેન સાથે રહેવા ચાલી ગઇ પરંતુ અહીં પણ મુસીબતે તેનો પીછો નહોતો છોડ્યો. તેના ભયાનક બનેલા ચહેરાને જોઇને નબળા હ્રદયના લોકોનું બ્લડ પ્રેશર ઓછું થઇ જતું હતું. તેના બળી ગયેલા ચહેરાને જોઇને લોકો કહેતા કે, “આ સ્ત્રી છે પરંતુ તે સ્ત્રી જેવી લાગતીજ નથી અને તેને ચહેરો તો છે જ નહીં.” પોતાના વિશે આવી વાતો સાંભળીને લાચાર બુશરા આંસુ સાર્યા સિવાય બીજુ કાંઇ નહોતી કરી શકતી.

બુશરાની આ વાત પંદર વર્ષ પહેલાની હતી. પરંતુ હાલમાં સ્થિતિ કાંઇક જૂદી છે. છેલ્લા પંદર વર્ષમાં બુશરા પર 28 સર્જરી થઇ ચુકી છે. હવે બુશરા એવું મહેસુસ કરે છે કે ધીરેધીરે તેને માનવીય ચહેરાને મળતો આવે તેવો ઘાટ મળશે અને ગમે તેમ કરીને તેને નાકનો યોગ્ય ઘાટ આપવામાં આવે તો તેને માટે ઘણું સારૂં રહેશે. 

બુશરા હવે બ્યુટિશિયન બનવા માંગે છે અને હાલમાં તે લાહોરના એક સલુનમાં આ અંગે તાલિમ પણ લઇ રહી છે. આ સલુન મુશરત મિશબાહ દ્વારા ચલાવવામાં આવે છે. મુશરત એક એવી પાકિસ્તાની સ્ત્રી છે જે પાકિસ્તાનમાં બુશરાની જેમ એસિડ અટેકનો ભોગ બનેલી સ્ત્રીઓની સેવા કરે છે અને તેમનું પુન:વસન થાય તેના માટે યોગ્ય પગલાઓ લે છે. 

પાકિસ્તાનનું સ્માઇલ અગેઇન ફાઉન્ડેશન

સ્માઇલ અગેઇન ફાઉન્ડેશનના સંચાલિકા મુશરત એક વખત મોડી સાંજે પોતાની ઓફિસમાં કામમાં ગળાડુબ હતા ત્યારની વાત છે, તેમની ઓફિસમાં બુરખાથી પોતાના શરીરને નખશિખ ઢાંકીને એક સ્ત્રી આવી અને તેણે મુશરતને પોતાની મદદ કરવાની માંગણી કરી, કામના બોજમાં દટાયેલી મુશરતે તેને બીજા દિવસે સવારે આવવા જણાવ્યું. ત્યારે અચાનકજ બુરખામાં લપેટાયેલી એ સ્ત્રીએ પોતાનો બુરખો ઉંચો કર્યો અને પછી તે દ્રષ્ય સર્જાયું તે રૂંવાટા ઉભા કરી નાખનારૂં હતું.

બુરખાબંધ મહિલાએ મુશરતને જણાવ્યું કે ના.. તમારે મને અત્યારેજ મદદ કરવી પડશે. પડદો ઉંચો થતા દ્રશ્યમાન થયેલો ચહેરો કાંઇક આ પ્રમાણે હતો, “તેને ચહેરા જેવું કાંઇ હતું જ નહીં, નાકનું નામોનિશાન નહોતું, આંખો આંધળી થઇ ચુકી હતી તેના ગાલથી લઇને ગળા સુધીની ત્વચા ભયાનક રીતે દાઝીને એક બીજા સાથે એટલી તંગ રીતે જોડાઇ ગઇ હતી કે તે યુવતી માટે પોતાનું ડોકું ધુણાવવું પણ અશક્ય હતું. તેના પગમાં પણ જીવ નહોતો રહ્યો.”... 

આ યુવતીએ મુશરતને જણાવ્યું કે, “મારા પતિ તેમજ સાસરિયાઓએ મારા મોઢા પર એસિડ રેડ્યું અને હવે મારે મારો ચહેરો પાછો મેળવવા તમારી મદદની જરૂર છે.” મુશરત જાણતી હતી કે એવો કોઇ મેકઅપ દુનિયામાં નથી કે જેનાથી આ યુવતીની આંખો પાછી આવી જાય, તેના નાકનો ઘાટ યોગ્ય થઇ જાય પણ છતાં તેણે તે યુવતીને જણાવ્યું કે હું તને ચોક્કસ મદદ કરીશ.

મિશ્બાહે પોતાનું વચન પાળી બતાવ્યું, તેણે પોતાના ખર્ચે તે યુવતીની સારવાર કરાવી અને એ ઘટના બાદ આજે એવી સ્થિતિ છે કે 100થી વધારે મહિલાઓ તેમજ યુવતીઓને મિશ્બાહ મદદ કરી ચુકી છે અને તેના સ્માઇલ અગેઇન ફાઉન્ડેશનને દાન આપવા દાતાઓ લઇનમાં ઉભા છે. ઇટાલી તેમજ યુકેના ડોક્ટરો તેને પોતાનો ખાસ સમય ફાળવે છે અને એસિડ એટેકનો ભોગ બનેલી મહિલાઓની સારવાર કરે છે. મિશ્બાહ પણ આવી ઘટનાઓનો ભોગ બનેલી મહિલાઓને પોતાનાથી બનતી તમામ મદદ કરે છે. 

જોકે, એસિડના હુમલાઓનો ભોગ બનેલી યુવતીઓને ટેલિફોન ઓપરેટર સિવાય જોબ આપવા ખાસ લોકો તૈયાર નથી કારણકે તેમના ચહેરા અત્યંત બિહામણા થઇ ચુક્યા હોય છે છતાં મિશ્બાહે પોતાના પ્રયાસોથી 98 ટકા મહિલાઓને રોજગાર અપાવ્યો છે. 

પાશવીપણાની તમામ હતો પાર..

સ્માઇલ અગેઇન ફાઉન્ડેશનની પાસે આવતા એકથી એક કેસ રૂંવાટા ઉભા કરી દેતા અને માનવજાત પર ફિટકાર વરસાવવાનું મન થાય તેવા છે. આવોજ એક કિસ્સો આવ્યો હતો 17 વર્ષની નસિરાનો.. ગોરોવાન તેમજ સોનેરી વાળ ધરાવતી આ યુવતી પર એસિડ અટેક થવાનું કારણ તેના એકતરફી પ્રેમમાં પડેલા યુવકનો પ્રસ્તાવ ઠુકરાવવાનું હતું. 

તેમજ 17 વર્ષની શમિમને તેની શેરીની એક ટોળકીએ છેડતી કરી.. મામલો આટલેથી ન અટકતા આ ટોળકી વધારેને વધારે આગળ વધતી ગઇ જ્યારે શમિમે તેનો વિરોધ કર્યો ત્યારે પરિણામ એ આવ્યું કે આ ટોળકીએ શમિમનું અપહરણ કર્યું, તેના પર સામુહિક બળાત્કાર ગુજાર્યો અને તેને સદા માટે ચુપ કરી દેવા તેના પર એસિડ છાંટી દીધું.

પાકિસ્તાનમાં આ પ્રકારે કેટલા સ્ત્રીઓ પર વર્ષે કેટલા હુમલાઓ થાય છે તેના કોઇ ચોક્કસ આંકડાઓ ઉપલબ્ધ નથી તેમજ આ પ્રકારના કેટલાકજ કેસો પોલીસ સ્ટેશનમાં દાખલ થાય છે અને ઘણીવાર તેમના પર કામ ચલાવવું પણ અઘરૂં થઇ પડે છે. 

આ કેસ પર કામ ચલાવવા પર પડતી મુશ્કેલીનું ઉદાહરણ આપતા મિશ્બાહે જણાવ્યું હતું કે પોતે એકવાર એસિડ અટેકનો ભોગ બનેલી યુવતીને લઇને પોલીસ સ્ટેશન ગઇ ત્યાં તે યુવતીને પહેલો સવાલ એજ પુછવામાં આવ્યો કે તે એવાતો કયા કામ કર્યા હતા કે તારી સાથે આવું વર્તન કરાયું?

અહીં પાકિસ્તાનની સ્ત્રીઓ પર થતા અત્યાચારની વાત કરવામાં આવી છે જેનો મતલબ એમ બિલકુલ નથી થતો કે ભારતમાં પરિસ્થિતિ ઘણી સારી છે. ભારતમાં પણ દહેજના કિસ્સાઓમાં સ્ત્રીઓને મારી નાંખવાનું ચલણ આજે પણ યથાવત છે. પરંતુ આપણા દેશમાં એવી કોઇ સંસ્થા આ લખનારના ધ્યાનમાં નથી આવી જે પાકિસ્તાનના સ્માઇલ અગેઇન ફાઉન્ડેશનની જેમ દાઝેલી સ્ત્રીઓના પુન:વસનમાટે કાર્ય કરતી હોય. કદાચ આપના ધ્યાનમાં આવી કોઇ સંસ્થા હોય તો ચોક્કસ આપના પ્રતિભાવ મોકલો અથવા દહેજપ્રથાનો ભોગ બનેલી સ્ત્રીઓ કે જેમને તેના સાસરિયાઓએ સળગાવવાનો પ્રયાસ કર્યો હોય અને તે જીવીત બચી ગઇ હોય તો તેનું પુન:વસન કઇ રીતે કરવું જોઇએ તે અંગે આપ શું માનો છો? આપના અમુલ્ય પ્રતિભાવ અમને ચોક્કસ મોકલો.


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 Edition Dated 28-1-2010
 
Nobat Evening Gujarati Daily - Jamnagar A web Edition Dates 28-1-10

   
 

Gujarati Evening Daily Head Line
Gujarati Evening  Daily News Deatails 1


NDTV Debate on Burqa seen on 24th July 2010. It is excellent 
 


http://www.ndtv.com/news/videos/video_player.php?id=154270

NDTV Debate: Burqa Ban in France, This short debate is well-worth a watch for differences in views on Burqa ban in France. 


This Monthly Review article shows how the current economic boom in India is dependent on caste discrimination and exploitation of those at the bottom of socio-economic ladder. 

Ċ
Rohit Barot,
5 Oct 2008, 13:15
Ċ
Rohit Barot,
5 Oct 2008, 13:20
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