Rohtak: In yet another shameful incident highlighting concerns about women's safety while at the same time in a rare show of courage against eve teasing, two sisters fought three men who were reportedly harassing them onboard a bus in Haryana. The two college-going girls thrashed the men inside a Haryana Roadways Bus as fellow passengers played mute spectators to the episode.
The alleged eve-teasers used derogatory language and made obscene gestures before the girls retaliated. The incident took place on Friday.
According to news reports, the brave girls, Aarti and Pooja, thrashed the molester even as they were themselves assaulted by him. The girls hit the youth with a belt.
The matter came to light after a woman travelling in the same state transport bus recorded the incident on her mobile phone.
An amateur video footage shot revealed that the girls were pushed by the men after they protested against the obscene language and gestures.
According to an English news channel, the brave girls, Aarti and Pooja told that the passenger of the bus instead of helping them said, “Chor do in ladko ko, warna ye tumhara rape kar denge ya acid dal denge. Eisi jagah phek denge ki tumhari laash bhee nahien milega (leave these boys or they will rape you or pour acid. They will kill you and no one even get your bodies).”
As they unfolded the entire incident, one of the sisters said, "We boarded the bus from Rohtak bus stand, this boy started teasing us by trying to give his phone number to us. When we protested, he called his friends and they started making obscene gestures. When I walked up to him asking not to make such gestures, he grabbed me by the neck while others held back my sister."
To rescue her sister, who was being grabbed by the neck, the other sister said she took out her belt and attacked the eve teasers. The two sisters fought the eve teasers but the co-passengers did not seem to intervene. Finally, the girls were thrown out of the bus.
"My sister then took out her belt and started hitting them. They left me and attacked my sister, then I went to save her. In the end they threw us both out of the bus," she said.
“Passengers in the bus stopped us from calling the police. We were thrown out of moving bus & then conductor told us to file police complaint, but by that time they had all escaped,” Aarti and Pooja added.
The sisters claimed that the bus stopped after some distance and the youth, and his accomplices, pushed them out of the bus and started hitting them.
“Panchayat people belonging to the boys' village came to our house and told us to withdraw the complaint,” the girls said.
On Panchayat's involvement in this case, Aarti and Pooja said, "The Pachayat had said that since the boy (molester) is going to join the 'Force' soon, so he will be brought in front of the girls and will be asked to tender his apology. But no police will be involved."
But when the girls along with their father reached the molesters village, the sisters added, “Panchayat says the boys have said that they will commit suicide but will not apologise.”
Thanking their father for his encouragement, the sisters said “Girls should be given freedom in every house and only then she can fight others.”
"Hamare ghar mein hame ye seekh mili hai ki galati hone par chota ho ya barah, mafi mango. Magar galati na ho tho kisi se bhee mat daro (At home we are taught that say 'sorry' if you are wrong even to a younger person but if not guilt do not get scared of anyone)," the sisters said.
The braveheart sisters added that they had filed a complaint with the police and hoped that the perpetrators would soon be caught.
Meanwhile, police said all the three youths -- Kuldeep, Mohit and Deepak -- have been arrested.
"We have arrested the three accused and they will be produced before court tomorrow," Rohtak SP Shanshank Anand said, PTI reported.
A case under section 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage woman's modesty) and section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) have been registered against them, he said.
The incident triggered spontaneous indignation from women rights activists, with National Commission for Women chairperson Lalitha Kumarmangalam asking the authorities to take appropriate action against the accused.
Asserting that crime against women cannot be prevented until the law enforcing agencies and the people come together, National Federation of Indian Women general secretary Annie Raja today lauded the sisters from Rohtak for fighting back the eve-teasers.
She said that it is the duty of every citizen to help the girls who are in trouble.
"When the girls are in trouble, it is your responsibility as a citizen of this country to help those girls, but you are not doing it. This is not the first time people are behaving like this, this is the character of our society," Raja said, ANI reported.
"I think first of all we must highlight the positive aspect of this incident that is the girls dared to challenge those who violate their rights. Congratulations to those girls for their courageous act," she added.
Meanwhile, social activist and senior advocate Abha Singh commenting on the incident said the culprits must be arrested immediately.
"And the silent spectators, who did not help, must be hauled up," she added.