Remember the viral videos from November 2014 where boys were being beaten up with belts inside a moving bus by two girls? Instantly, the media went overboard and labelled the girls as #RohtakBravehearts?
One sided narrative was spread through almost every single medium, be it print, television and even digital, where these boys were declared guilty for molesting the girls inside a bus full of passengers and also alleging that no one did anything.
In case you missed the video then, you can watch it here below to understand the gist of this case:
The three then allegedly accused boys, Kuldeep, Deepak and Mohit had been declared innocent on two occasions by different courts; once in 2017 and again in 2018.
- First decision in the case came on March 3, 2017, where the judge categorically stated that no crime was made out against any of the accused as the girls had lied about eve-teasing and molestation. They had not disclosed in their statements that the altercation began over seats and their complaint did not attract charges of molestation under section 354A of India Penal Code (IPC). The court relied upon statements by independent witnesses, especially the girl, who recorded the video, all of whom stated that it was the girls who beat up the boys with belts and started the fight over seat of an old lady, which the boys asked to vacate. Considering the contradictory statements of the two sisters, witness accounts and polygraph test reports, the court found no grounds to frame charges against the accused and discharged all of them, two-and-a-half years after the FIR was filed
- Second decision in the matter was upheld by the sessions court on September 11, 2018 where the verdict clearly stated that it found no reason to interfere with the judgement of the lower court and also found no illegality or irregularity in it as claimed by the revisionist complainant, that is, state of Haryana. The court also observed that the polygraph tests conducted on the girls and the boys resulted in absolutely no deceptive statements by the boys, while the answers given by the complainants Aarti and Pooja were found to be deceptive
Our lives were turned upside down because of false cases filed against us. Media declared us guilty without any trial. Everyone looked at us as if we were some dreaded criminals. When the incident happened, media reported it non-stop for several days, refusing to hear our side. Some channels did report the truth later but it was already too late. We had cleared medical tests for selection in the army and had to write our exams. But after the media outrage, the army banned us from writing the exam.
Almost after more than a year that two courts had repeatedly acquitted the boys, digital news portal, The Quint, ran a video program on October 19, 2019 interviewing both girls once again and defaming the boys and their families despite honourable acquittal.
Men’s Day Out is in possession of the Defamation Notice served to The Quint, it’s editors, and reporter Ms Akansha Kumar by one of the acquitted boys, Kuldeep Singh. The notice to the portal alleges how they ran a baseless program talking about the ‘lie detector test’ and how the questions that were asked were absolutely false. Sandeep Kumar Rathi, Supreme Court Lawyer, representing Singh also claims in the notice, that The Quint tried to portray these girls as innocent and deprived of justice, despite two courts acquitting all the boys after detailed investigation. He has termed this as an insult to our judiciary and constitution.
The defamation notice further states, that The Quint strategically uploaded this program on their channel, just two days before the Haryana Assembly Elections that were scheduled on October 21, 2019, which could have caused conflict between two castes on ground. The notice also alleges that it was the endeavour of the portal to showcase the Khap Panchayat and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in poor light just before the state went to polls.
The notice has asked The Quint to give an apology in writing and take down the defamatory program from their web channel.
Men’s Day Out reached out to The Quint and they have acknowledged receiving the defamation notice. The news portal also confirmed to us quoting:
As a first response, without prejudice, we have taken down the story from our news portal and from our social media platforms.
The Quint has also stated that they shall be sending their response to the legal notice through their advocates as soon as they return from winter vacations.
Below is the link to the program, which now stands deleted.
History To The Case:
- The sisters alleged that the youths first blew kisses at them and then threw slips with their mobile phone numbers
- When they objected, the boys made lewd gestures
- The sisters said the bus stopped after some distance and the youths pushed them out and started hitting them
- While one fell on the road, the other fell in a field
- After the video showing the girls beating the boys went viral on social media, the Haryana government had also announced an award for the girls on Republic Day 2015, along with a cash prize of Rs 31,000 each and several celebrities hailed them as a symbol of women empowerment
- However, the tale of bravery soon collapsed as several more videos of the same girls beating up guys in public parks and other places started appearing
- It emerged that the girls would regularly beat up guys, shoot their videos and then threaten them of making it public or file a false a molestation case, lest they pay up
WATCH VIDEO BELOW
Further, another man too reportedly came forward to claim of being victimised by these same girls similarly who had accused him of molestation. He eventually had to pay Rs 20,000 to have these charges withdrawn.
- The state of Haryana has always been in news for rapes/gang rapes, atrocities on women and largely been termed as a patriarchal society
- However, the incident of Rohtak sisters and their false accusations on not just one but several innocent boys, makes us question, whether all acts of barbarity reported against women are real or some are made up for various personal or political gains
- The media plays a large role in fuelling fire and adding to an incorrect or half baked narrative, declaring men are criminals, molesters and even rapists before the court gives it’s verdict
- Portals with enormous readership and outreach must be even more careful and conscious, since they can be responsible in leading a malicious campaign by brainwashing people only in one direction
- What happens to the dignity of men in such cases?
- Despite being acquitted, they still live on with the tag of “Oh those Rohtak sister molesters”
- As women reporters or hardcore feminists, one may choose to completely ignore or overlook facts in a particular case, however, similar misreporting can soon become a reality for Men in your family as well
- Gender Equality is not only about Male bashing, but establishing a balance of the sexes in it’s true sense
- By false or incorrect reporting, you are only diminishing the chances of a genuine woman survivor to get justice