New Delhi: A young IAS officer in Madhya Pradesh, anguished at the troubles she faced while tackling sexual harassment, has once again put the focus back on the difficulties faced by women who raise their voice.
Riju Bafna, posted in Seoni, wrote on Facebook on August 1: “I can only pray that no woman is born in this country... Idiots are lined up at every step."
Bafna wrote about her experience with the judiciary on a sexual harassment complaint filed by her.
“Santosh Chaubey, Aayogmitra of MP Human Rights Commission was sending me indecent messages last week. I had filed an FIR against him and criminal action is being pursued against him. He was immediately removed from his job, thanks to the swift action by my Collector, Shri Bharat Yadav.”
“Today, I went to give my statement to the Judicial Magistrate. While I was giving my statement, an advocate named Lalit Sharma was standing next, overhearing my statement, along with others in the court. I asked the judicial magistrate to ask others to leave as I was uncomfortable giving my statement in front of so many people.”
“On saying this, Lalit Sharma started shouting at me, saying 'how dare you suggest me to leave, I am an advocate here and you might be an officer in your office but not in the Court'. I told him that the privacy I am demanding is not as an IAS officer but as a woman and laws provide me with that. He started arguing and eventually left.”
“Such is the state of affairs for women in this country. When I said to Judicial Magistrate that he should be careful of presence of other people when a woman is giving statement under sexual harassment case, he said that you are young and that's why demanding such things.”
After her comment that “no woman should be born in this country” created a flutter, she toned it down.
She edited the line to: “Idiots are lined up at every step and people are highly insensitive towards our sufferings. If you are born in this country, better prepare yourself for struggle at every step.”
Later she posted: “In my previous post, there was a line about women not being born in the country. I wrote that line in the spur of moment and I regret blaming the country for the fault of individuals. Indeed, I had edited the fb post later. However, the entire experience made me realize how insensitive the criminal justice system is towards the sensitive matters of sexual crimes. I have full faith in the institutions of this country and I am making the following representation to the concerned authorities.”