After Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala's son Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish were arrested and later released on bail for allegedly stalking a daughter of a civil servant in Chandigarh, the woman and her father have taken to Facebook to express their side of the story.
Recounting the incident, which took place on the night of 4 and 5 August, the victim's father wrote on Facebook, "If we do not persist in trying to bring the guilty to justice, more and more daughters will suffer this hurt,"
The father of the victim in his Facebook post thanked the Chandigarh police for being helpful and efficient in handling the matter.
"Chandigarh police was pretty efficient and helpful. They intercepted the goons, were responsive to Varnika's distress calls, and were neutral in filing the complaint."
Representational image. Reuters
While stating how his family had gone through a "horrendous experience", he said that it will take a long time for his daughter "to go back to a normal life."
"We are thankful that she survived this ordeal. The goons had a very clear intention of abducting her, and she escaped due to her courage and presence of mind, but it was a very close call, and her trauma is unimaginable. I suppose it will take her a long time to go back to a normal life," the post read.
Giving reasons for writing the Facebook post, the father said, "Our clear intention is to bring the culprits to book."
The woman in her complaint had alleged that two youth in an SUV followed her when she was driving from the Sector 8 market in Chandigarh towards Panchkula on the intervening night of 4 and 5 August.
"There were two guys inside the SUV, and they seemed to really be enjoying harassing a lone girl in the middle of the night, judging by how often their car swerved, just enough to scare me that it might hit me," the woman wrote in her Facebook post.
"By now I was totally alert and mildly panic-y, so I decided to turn right from the St.Johns' traffic lights towards Madhya Marg(a more crowded, seemingly safer road).I tried to turn right from the lights but the SUV blocked my way, forcing me to go straight into sec-26," the woman said in her post.
Thanking the Chandigarh Police for the prompt action, she narrated how the police came to her rescue.
"I also called the cops at 100, and explain to them the situation and my exact location and where I was headed. The cop who answered my call, intuitively sensed the urgency in my voice, and promised me that help would be along very soon," the post read.
While the politician's son and his friend were incessantly bullying her, the woman wrote, she saw a PCR vehicle pull up at the lights, quite possibly to her response to her call.
"They heard me honking, and saw the SUV swerving left and right in an attempt to block me, and a couple of cops ran out towards the SUV, nabbing it just in time, because they were blocked in by traffic," she wrote on Facebook.
Concluding her post, the woman urged other women to be proactive about their safety.
"Ladies! Please be proactive about your own safety. Note the number of any vehicle that tries to harass you. Don't be afraid to call the cops, The minute it starts!" she wrote.
The woman also suggested some measures to make women feel more secure against any kind of sexual harassment.
"Call your parents, if possible, and let them know where you are and the situation you're in. Try and run away, in the safest way possible. Your life is paramount! If he walks towards you, use whatever you can as a weapon,whether it's a gun or mace or taser or a golf club or a knife, it's going to make you feel safer and more confident."
However, a member of the Barala family, Kuldeep Barala, took to Facebook to hit out at the woman. Uploading images of her drinking alcohol, Kuldeep questioned her character while discrediting the incident. Kuldeep also said that the incident was blown out of proportion by the Opposition to malign the ruling BJP government in Haryana. According to The Wire, Kuldeep later deleted the post.
The BJP state unit too is defending Barala's son. "The girl should not have gone out at 12 in the night. Why was she driving so late in the night? The atmosphere is not right. We need to take care of ourselves." the state unit told News18 on Monday. The state unit's reaction came in response to the latest development in the case, with the police claiming that the CCTV footage of the incident has gone missing.
The Opposition Congress on Sunday held protests at various places against the incident. State Congress chief Ashok Tanwar led one such protest in Faridabad.
"The arrogance of power in the BJP, the party which talks about saving and educating girl child, has reached to such a level that son of a state BJP chief dared to commit such crime," Tanwar told PTI.
Opposition party INLD and the leader of opposition Abhay Chautala demanded Barala's resignation over the issue.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi too condemned the incident, saying the state government must punish the guilty and not "collude" with culprits and the mindset they represent.
Both Vikas, who is a student of LLB, and his friend Ashish were booked under section 354 D (stalking) of IPC and 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act (driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs), the police said.
After the woman recorded her statement before the area magistrate in Chandigarh under section 164 of the CrPC, the police added another Section 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) in the FIR, according to officials.
With inputs from PTI
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