As we are entering into the 65th year of Independence, a zeal, a fervor can be felt all around; and moreover, as we celebrate the glorious achievements of our six Olympians, who have made the whole nation proud with their feats, here are six cases which put every Indian, worth his salt, hang his head with shame. I know this is not the time for such a piece, but these stories are not going away, they surface and resurface every now and then, not allowing us to push them to the back of our minds. And the din and disturbance that these stories create in your mind, drown all other sounds.
Geetika Sharma-Gopal Kanda
Geetika Sharma, a 23-yr-old former Air-Hostess committed suicide by hanging herself in her home; and in her suicide note accused Gopal Kanda, a former minister in the Haryana Government, as being responsible for her suicide.
Gopal Kanda allegedly harassed young Geetika Sharma for having left his Airline Company, resulting in her suicide on August 5, 2012. Geetika first joined in his company MDLR in 2006, but left it in 2010 to join Emirates. She came back to India to join one of Kanda’s other companies, but Kanda and his senior executive Aruna Chaddha had been harassing her to rejoin MDLR. A very possessive Gopal Kanda, who could never see another man near Geetika, had been spying on her social life and following her wherever she went. And when she ultimately left his company on 25 June, 2012, he had been harassing her to sign some papers, failing which he would register a police case. All this left the young girl visibly distraught and compelled her to take the extreme step.
Kanda had to resign after his name figured in the suicide not, but police had been dilly-dallying in arresting him, thus giving him time and space to find some escape routes. Now it was said that he would surrender on Monday. But we haven’t heard anything about it, so far.
Ruchika Girhotra – S.P.S. Rathore
August 1990: Ruchika Girhotra, a class X student and a lawn-tennis player was molested by Rathore – IGP, Haryana, in his office. Ruchika’s friend Aradhana was an eye-witness to the molestation.
September 3, 1990, the inquiry report indicted Rathore; but no action taken.
September 20, 1990, two weeks later, Ruchika was expelled from her school, for non-payment of fees. There were 135 more such cases in the school including Rathore’s own daughter. False cases of theft, murder and civil defamation were filed against Ruchika’s father and her brother Ashu, Aradhana and her parents.
On September 23, 1993: Ruchika’s 13-year-old brother, Ashu, was picked up in the market place near his house by police in plain clothes; and was subjected to third degree torture. Ashu was taken to his house and beaten mercilessly in front of Ruchika by Rathore. Rathore then threatened her, saying that if she did not take back the complaint, her father, and then she herself, would face the same fate.
December 28, 1993: A few days after Ashu was paraded in handcuffs in his locality,Ruchika consumed poison and died the next day.
Rathore threw a party that night to celebrate. The government closed the case filed against Rathore less than a week after her death.
Both the families were forced to shift out of Chandigarh due to constant harassment. Ruchika’s parents lost all hope; but Aradhana and her father continued the fight.
December 21, 2009: Finally, the special judge pronounced a very soft sentence – six-month jail and a fine of Rs 1000/- to Rathore. The smile on his face as he left court incensed the public and legal experts. He was stripped of his police Medal in April 2010.His sentence was later increased to 18 months in prison in May 2010 by a local court in Chandigarh. But he was granted bail by the Supreme Court after five months. And now his pension has been restored by the court.
Fiza and Chand Muhammad (Anuradha Bali and Chander Mohan)
The love story of Fiza and Chand Muhammad lost its steam just within 40 days. It ended as dramatically as it had surfaced. Change of religion, secret marriage, press-conferences; and then suddenly Chand Muhammad started missing his first wife, and politician father; went back to his family, divorced Fiza; changed back to Hinduism; and lived happily thereafter, snapping all relationship with Fiza.
Frustration, loneliness, and humiliation drew very angry public reaction from Fiza. But all this while she had been under threat from powerful people (Chander Mohan’s brother); and moreover she had lost all faith in the police who was controlled by those very people against whom she was fighting. All this left her jobless, friendless and dejected. And on August 6, 2012, she was found dead in her home under very mysterious circumstances. Whatever the reason behind her death, here was a story – a story of romance and betrayal, of ambition and political clout, of dreams and deception.
Shivani Bhatnagar – R.K. Sharma
January 23, 1999: Shivani Bhatnagar, a young journalist working with The Indian Express, was murdered, allegedly by RK Sharma, an IPS officer who got her killed for the fear she might expose their love affair.
August, 2003, RK Sharma surrendered, as there were summons against him.
2008: R K Sharma, along with other three, was convicted for the murder, and sentenced to life-imprisonment.
2011: Delhi high Court acquitted Sharma for want of evidence against appeal.
Madhumita Shukla– Amarmani Tripathi
May 2003: Madhumita Shukla, a budding poetess, shot at close range when she refused to terminate her seven month’s pregnancy caused by Amarmani Tripathi, an influential politician of Uttar Pradesh
June 2003: The IPS officer, investigating the case was suspended at the behest of Mayawati, the then Chief Minister, for his alleged refusal to give clean chit to Amarmani Tripathi.
September 2003: Amarmani Tripathi arrested.
October, 2007: Amarmani, his wife and two others sentenced to life imprisonment.
(A rarest of rare case where within four years, the accused were given punishment)
Ujjawala Sharma – Narayan Dutt Tiwari
It took 32 years; a court case and a DNA test, for Rohit Shekhar to prove to the world, and shame ND Tiwari into accepting that he (Rohit) was not an illegitimate child; rather he (Tiwari) was an illegitimate father. Though the report made the veteran Congress leader lose face; it seems it was nothing new for Tiwari who was involved in a sex scandal in 2009 as well.When he was the Honourable Governor of Andhra Pradesh, he was found in bed with three women in the Raj Bhawan, following which he had to resign.
Tiwari-Ujjawala-Rohit story has come out as a landmark case, which should act an eye-opener for those who misuse their political power.
Except in the case of Geetika and Ruchika, all the other women can’t escape their responsibility in the crime. They were very much aware of the infamous ways of the people in power; and they allowed themselves to be trapped.
Nevertheless, a corrupt police force and a weak legal system has only supported the politically powerful people and their exploits. (These are over and above thousands of those cases which go unnoticed, unspoken about, unrecorded and unreported.)
Images Courtesy: Google
Narinder Jit Kaur is a retired Associate Professor from Patiala,who taught English Literature for 31 Years in various Government Colleges of Punjab. A writer and a translator, she has five books of translations, from Punjabi to English, to her credit Including Voices In The Back Courtyard(Rupa & Co.) -An Anthology Of Short-Stories By Punjabi Women Writers. She writes articles, poems and short-stories in English, Punjabi and Hindi. You can read more from her on narinderjit.com