In a recent incident in Delhi’s Anand Parbat area, a 19-year-old girl was allegedly beaten up when she tried to resist against a man who tried to molest her. When her mother came to her help, she was also allegedly manhandled by the person.
With a police complaint filed, the accused got arrested the same day. They also managed to get bail the same day, as all of the charges were bailable offences. Upon release, the prime accused, Sonu, returned to the address of the complainant with 5-6 other people and allegedly beat the mother and daughter again.
The entire drama was caught on a CCTV camera outside the house, with 3 arrests made including Sonu based on the videographic evidence. According to the statement given to the police by the girl, she had been facing abuse and molestation for the past few months before the incidents on Saturday occurred. This comes in less than a year after the case of another girl getting stabbed when she resisted molestation attempts made the headlines.
Readers at this point can be reminded of the brutal Nirbhaya gang rape case of 2012, or the more recent Jisha rape case in Kerala. There are many cases in between as well. But one which comes from many decades ago strikes a chord. Sanjay-Geeta Chopra Murder case of 1978, were 16-year old Geeta and 14-year-old Sanjay Chopra, children of a Naval Officer were kidnapped and murdered, while allegations of Geeta being raped were never proved beyond doubt can be remembered. A bravery award was instituted under their name for the bravery they showed in trying to fight off the criminal duo Billa-Ranga.
One could also mention the case of Meenakshi, the girl last year who was molested and, when she resisted, was stabbed close to 35 times in the lanes of Anand Parbat. According to some reports, she ran through the streets trying to get away from her assailants with multiple stab wounds while the 2 accused pursued her and even attacked her mother when she tried to help. Meenakshi died succumbed to her wounds.
How many more such cases have to be brought up before our eyes before there is any strict action against criminal elements like these? Who would not only prey on defenceless women in broad daylight, but also punish with lethal intent when the women would try to stand up for themselves?
Locals of Anand Parbat are not surprised by this news. People talk about how a man was attacked by men when he protested their drinking and uncouth comments outside his house. When a girl forces a would-be-molester to back off, it is nothing new for the pervert to threaten the woman and ask around for her address to intimidate her.
In the case before us, the accused were detained and let out on bail. All accused are innocent until proven guilty, and thus cannot be denied bail on the basis of the allegations themselves. But it begs the question that the local police, who are not unaware of the ground reality, have not taken any steps to put an end to this kind of intimidation. While the police force deserves applaud for their progress on many fronts in the past few years, they yet remain ineffective in providing the basic security to an accuser.
This serves as a wakeup call to the authorities. If the security of alleged victims is compromised in such a flagrant manner, many other people would refuse to come forward out of fear of reprisals from the accused. In a free society, which our country keeps claiming to be, an individual has the right to live and move around in security without threat to life or limb. It is time we either give up the claim of being a free society and accept the mute spectatorship which most of the society seems to be doing, or we claim back the right to live and breathe freely, as humans.
Ranveer Raj Bhatnagar