Changing face of India

Brave sisters thrash molesters on a moving bus in Haryana

Saturday 06th December 2014 06:09 EST

In a rare case, two sisters had shown indomitable courage and bravery by opposing the misdemeanour of three youth who tried to "molest" them in a moving bus of Haryana Roadways at Rohtak. The Haryana government, meanwhile, announced that it would honour them with cash awards on the Republic Day.

Taking serious note of the incident, the state government has asked director general of police (DGP) and the transport department to take steps for ensuring safety and security of passengers, especially women, travelling in the Haryana roadways buses. The bus drivers and conductors have also been directed to make sure that such incidents do not occur in future, it said.

All the three accused - identified as Kuldeep, Mohit and Deepak - have been arrested. Two of the molesters are aspirants to join Indian Army and the third is a college student. The driver and the conductor have been suspended for failing to stop the molestation.

A case under section 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage woman's modesty) and section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code was registered against them.

In a rare show of courage, the two sisters thrashed the three men inside a bus in Haryana's Rohtak town, even as passengers chose to look the other way. Both sisters confronted the accused and mustered enough courage to thrash them, with one of the girls even hitting the youths with her belt, for allegedly outraging their modesty.

The entire incident, recorded by a passenger on mobile phone, went viral both on television and social media. It showed the two girls using their hands and a belt to thrash the molesters, who appeared to be taken by surprise.

"All the girls should do what these sisters did. They did well. But it is sad that none of the other passengers came to their help. The society has to change its mindset and people should stop being mere onlookers when such incidents take place," Union minister Uma Bharti said, reacting to the incident that has triggered spontaneous indignation. "What the girls wear, does not matter. People should come together and ensure that women are respected and their dignity is maintained," she said.

National Commission for Women chairperson Lalitha Kumarmangalam too praised the girls. "I would like to congratulate the girls and ask the authorities to take appropriate action. Few girls have the guts to take on the molesters. The government should take action. I would appeal to every Indian to come forward," she said.

The parents of the two girls lodged an FIR with Haryana police against the three men saying the molesters got down at Kansla village in Rohtak. The victims in their complaint alleged they were "teased" by some youths in a Haryana Roadways bus on their way to college. They said when they objected, one of the accused started beating them up. The father of the two sisters alleged that there was pressure from the panchayat that the girls should withdraw the complaint.

What made the incident all the more alarming is the fact that none of the co-passengers who are seen in the video, cringing and smirking, so much as raised a finger to come to the aid of the hapless sisters. In fact the co-passengers are seen in the video dissuading the girls from lodging a police complaint. A pregnant woman was the only one who objected to the harassment by the three men.

Initially the duo, bachelor in computer application students, suffered in silence as the men passed obscene remarks and made lewd gestures at them. However, when the men started picking on the pregnant woman as well, the girls took matters into their own hands and bravely fought back.

Eventually the sisters were overpowered, their mobile phones taken away and they were thrown off the moving bus causing them minor injuries. In the meantime the pregnant woman got off the bus at the next stop and accompanied the girls to the nearest police post. They were then taken to Sadar police station to register a case.

Rohtak SSP Shashank Anand said the accused have been booked for assault and outraging the modesty of a female. "They have been identified and were arrested on Sunday evening," he said.

Reflecting the sorry state of affairs in the state to tackle crimes of this nature, the much-hyped women helpline proved no help. According to the sisters the operator simply hung up after promising to call back. "Till now, our call has not been returned," said the sisters. Anand promised to look into the ineffectiveness of the helpline. The Khattar government had also announced the deployment of guards in buses used by women but the move is yet to be implemented. However, the father of the girls, Rajesh Kumar, a clerk in the state electricity department had nothing but praise for his feisty daughters. "I am proud of them and expect other girls to follow them in the future,'' he said.

Army says won’t recruit Haryana’s molester duo

There is no place for molesters in the Indian Army. This is the strong message that the Army sent out on Monday by announcing that the two men, caught on camera molesting the Sonipat sisters in a moving bus, will not be recruited despite them clearing the physical test. Kuldeep and Deepak were waiting to give the written test but they can forget their dream of donning the proud uniform. The recruiting branch of the Army said that it was the end of the road for the two. The officials issued a statement after the Rohtak deputy commissioner informed the branch recruiting officer about their now-infamous bus ride.

"We take such issues very seriously and we have zero tolerance policy," Army sources said.

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