The Aradhana Ruchika story
In a country where social evils like stove deaths, rape, child marriages, female infanticide, witch hunting, dowry killings, honor killings, marital rape and much more loom large, crime against women is rising like never before. The voices of the helpless victims are subdued, and justice is delayed and denied in most cases.
Many women, little girls go through the trauma of abuse and violence ( physical, mental and emotional), quietly resign to the fate and keep their mouths shut in fear of male dominated and directed social norms.
In this kind of country when a woman rises above all this and shows her courage and determination, it is a proud moment for us.
How easy it is for an influential officer or a politician or some highly placed male to twist the criminal justice system in their favour. A patriarchal system which denied justice and drove a young molested child to commit suicide in isolated grief, harassed the modest family and for 19 long years managed to keep the molester sheltered. It failed Ruchika Girhotra just the way it failed Bhanvari Devi, Jessica Lal and Priyadarshani Mattoo.
19 years ago, Ruchika Girhotra , a budding tennis player, then aged 14, was molested by then IG of police SPS Rathore. When Ruchika lodged a complaint, she and her family and friends faced a barrage of threats and intimidating actions that her family was forced to move out of Chandigarh. False cases were registered against them, Her brother was beaten black and blue. Family suffered humiliation in the hands of powerful police personnel. The school expelled Ruchika on grounds most unjustified. How can a girl of 14 year be called ” loose character” and expelled ? Some questions need to be asked to the Sacred Heart school.
Her molestation was just one aspect of the story, the bigger one was Ruchika and Aradhana’s complaint against the IG. Their raised voices were crushed by Rathore’s pulls in the system and his advocate wife’s efforts in saving her criminal husband. In any civilised society He would have sentenced and strict action taken but not in our democratic India. He played with law , a mere puppet in his hands and had the guts to pose smiling to the cameras. He was even promoted to the rank of DGP by the then chief minister. What is this if not a mockery of our system . Rathore manage to delay a simple open and shut case where there was an eyewitness for nineteen long years. How did he manage that, one must ask. Why was Rathore allowed to transfer the case three times to three different cities to suit his own will and disposition? If it takes 19 years to deliver a judgement in such a simple case what can be expected in other cases where there are no witnesses except for the traumatized woman? It’s obvious that there was a nexus between police, politicians, lawyers and judiciary. Our severely flawed legal system is a plaything in the hands of rich and powerful.The rich or the powerful – like Rathore with his top cop connections – get off lightly while common citizens like Ruchika , Aradhana and many more bear the full brunt of a legal system
Is not it shameful that the 150-year-old law relating to sexual molestation, short of rape, of a minor prescribes a maximum sentence of only two years, as against 10 years for rape. Isn’t it time to shove this age-old law system and bring in the new laws which grant justice quickly and order fitting punishments to the criminals?
Amidst all this, Aradhana, Ruchika’s best friend and eyewitness to the case, single-handedly fought for justice for Ruchika difing and braving all odds and ends.
Here I would like to share a link to the blog post by my fellow blogger and friend IHM Let’s wipe the smile off his face
It is worth reading to know the details of the case. All the material in the link is copyright of IHM.
Aradhna made sure that Ruchika’s case would not be wiped out from public memory. The ghost of the young tormented Ruchika rose again with the dawn of new year. Aradhna and Ruchika walked hand in hand in childhood and shared a passion for music and tennis. It was the love for this game that drove them to the Tennis grounds on that fateful day when Ruchika was molested.
16 years after the death of Ruchika, an eywitness to the crime Aradhana, now 32 is still fighting for her long gone friend, trying her best to get justice for her dead friend. In the times when no one throws a second glance at a road accident also, this brave heart is leading the crusade for a justice long denied.
Her’s is a story of rare courage and loyalty. A story of a woman whose testimony convicted Rathore, even though for six months only. Her brave efforts have set the wheels moving once again and hopefully this time the country will not have to bow her head in shame over some faulty judgement. We see a ray of hope now and hope that her efforts will bring the culprit to justice.
I salute this brave woman who has stood by fearlessly to set an example to hundreds more to come out and raise their voices against the men who think they can keep the law in their pockets and get away laughing.
All those who support justice for Ruchika please go to the link, read and sign the online petition. Justice for Ruchika
Rukhsana Kausar : A story of exceptional courage
In the beautiful sleepy valley of Kashmir a young 18-year-old village girl fights and kills dreaded Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander when he attacked her home in Rajouri, a district in Kashmir. Sher Bibi is what people of Rajouri call Rukhsana.
Her exceptional courage is worth saluting. In times when girls her age dream of clothes, boys, parties and fun, this brave heroine of Kashmir stood firm to save her home and village from a terrorist attack.
On the chilly night of 27th September three dreaded LeT terrorists woke the family of a daily labourer Noor from their sleep. A loud banging made Noor open the door to find his brother held hostage at gun point by the terrorists. They were on a big mission in the valley but as the police was on their heels they wanted a refuge.
They forced entry into Rukhsana’s house in Shahdra Sharief, Rajouri district, about 20 miles from the ceasefire line between Indian and Pakistani forces, and started demanding food and shelter. On denying the terrorists became violent, slapped her brother and started beating her parents. The brave girl could not see her family being tormented by these hardcore terrorists and she snatched the AK47 from the man in a fraction of a second pushed him against the wall and hit him with the butt of the gun several times. Showed presence of mind she injured him with an axe lying near by and killed him on the spot with his own gun. She rushed out and fired some rounds in the air not knowing how to hold and operate an assault riffle. That wounded one of the other terrorists but he managed to run for his life.
Hardly aware of her heroic deed of killing one of the most wanted terrorists Rukhsana remains a simple village girl. Felicitated by the village folks, government and other agencies she has been recommended for gallantry award.
Rukhsana was as appointed a special police officer in J&K police force for her act of bravery. She feels that the terrorists are not invincible and if everyone shows some courage they can wipe out the terror that reigns in the valley of Kashmir.
He courage and fearlessness is exemplary for the govt. which has failed to wipe out terrorism and restore peace in the valley. people of villages around Rukhsana’s home are filled with a new found courage and are ready to counter any such attack but the girl and her family lives in fear of a counter attack. Though her family is taken to a safer place, there is a dire need to take some stern measures against the rising terror attacks.
Both Aradhana and Rukhsana are an inspiration to all the women out there. Their stories reflect the true power that every Indian woman holds within her.
A message for all to stand up against the prevailing crime and injustice. To shed the inhibitions and fears and join hands , raise voices and fight till each of the social evil, crime and injustice is wiped out.
Let us work together for a change. Become the change we want to see.
This post is a salute to both the brave hearts.