Haryana elections: Bravehearts of Rohtak upset with inaction on women’s safety in Haryana
The glories conferred upon the Rohtak Bravehearts- medals, trophies and honours- for not bowing down and standing up to their perpetrators hang all over their house, but today they are getting nowhere
Thana Kurd is extremely suspicious of the media now. Aarti and Puja, the two girls who stirred a storm on the internet after being tagged the Bravehearts of Rohtak when they stood up to the men harassing them, have been let down by the system. “Sab apni political rotiyan sek kar chale gaye (everybody was only bothered about their political gains),” says Santosh Kumar, their mother.
The glories conferred upon the duo- medals, trophies and honours- for not bowing down and standing up to their perpetrators hang all over their house, but today they are getting nowhere, reported The Quint.
In 2014, a video of the two girls had gone viral in which they were seen beating up a man who was allegedly trying to molest them. Media hailed both the sisters, calling them Bravehearts and everybody was all praises for them for giving it back to a molester.
Then, two days later a video surfaced in which they were seen beating another man. This led to an array of questions and like it goes in every other story, the women were questioned, and characters assassinated. Those who were victims were made to go through a lie detector test which, apparently, they failed. The questions ranged from how many men have you been with, to how many have you rejected.
Father of the two girls, Rajesh is disenchanted with the state machinery, and Santosh, the mother, is still irritated with the politicians.
Manohar Lal Khattar had announced a prize for the girls, which he went back on the minute the second video surfaced.
Beyond Rajesh’s misery and cynicism lies the upsetting reality of the caste gap that tilts the scales almost every time in favour of the accused, in such cases.
One of the reasons, reports The Quint, of the state going back on their promise to laud the girls, was that the alleged molesters came from a dominant caste, Jats, and the girls from Bairagi, a sub-group amongst the backward castes in Haryana.
Unlike the Haryana government, some local Dalit outfits commended the girls, conferred them with medals and trophies as they saw in their act of beating the boys, a symbol of assertion by those belonging to the lower caste, reported The Quint.
About the incident of Rohtak sisters, one passenger on the bus said to The Quint that it was the girls’ fault:
“Those girls were not vacating the seat, which led to a brawl. Whenever an issue arises there is a brother, uncle and other relatives from the village who always come in support so I don’t think anyone will have the courage to tease a girl.”
According to the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) statistics, 54 incidents of rape and 190 cases of assault on women were reported in Rohtak in 2015. With nationalism taking over other issues in this election season, women’s safety is likely going to take a back seat yet again. When asked who will he vote for in these polls, Rajesh makes it clear they won’t support the ruling party.