Ruchika, Neelofar, Asiya & India’s real villains

By NM Sampathkumar Iyangar
SPS Rathore has been the top law enforcer of the state of Haryana. Like ‘supercop’ KPS Gill in Punjab, he was Director General of Police and was the darling of four chief ministers. The former top cop has been convicted and sentenced to jail by a CBI court in Chandigarh.

The conviction is not for any ‘minor’ offence that politicos, bureaucrats, judges and police officers of India routinely commit. It is not for amassing wealth through corrupt ways; it is also not bumping off in a fake encounter some uncomfortable don who fell out with the political bosses. Rathore is under heat for molesting a 14-year-old girl Ruchika Girhotra some 19 years ago. He was president of Haryana Lawn Tennis Association in Panchkula. Ruchika, the budding tennis star was so traumatized by the horrendous experience that she committed suicide in 1993.

To be fair to the ‘illustrious’ IPS officer, it must be admitted that he has so far not faced allegations of such serious nature. He was not as notorious as his Sikh counterpart who lorded over Indian Hockey Federation for decades. KPS Gill perhaps holds the record for killing more Sikhs in Punjab than the number massacred in riots at the behest of New Delhi’s top political bosses. The ‘hero’ is credited with creating several mass graves for rebellious youth who opposed oppressive rulers. On the other hand, Rathore was only noted for his ‘royal’ ways and holding court from his office, seated in a massive ceremonial throne. The visiting public, allowed to squat on the floor, would narrate grievances and the ‘boss’ would pass instant orders to cops waiting on him.

Probe: Owing to his proximity to political bosses, Rathore held complete sway over cops and bureaucrats. When members of Ruchika’s family protested, alleging that harassment from the police drove her to suicide, they were forced to shift out of Panchkula.

Interestingly, there were at least two high-ranking officials of the state among hundreds of creeping crawlies. They spoke out against the tactics of the cops after probing the huge public outcry. RR Singh, the investigation officer who probed the charges brought by Ruchika, accused Rathore of driving the girl to suicide. "In this case, I am of the considered view that whatever Ruchika, a small girl of 15 yrs, had stated about the molestation by SPS Rathore is based on true facts. I am of the opinion that a cognizable offense is made; therefore, I recommend that a case under appropriate sections of Indian Penal Code be got registered."

Singh faced severe pressure to prolong the probe, as it usually happens in India when big names are involved. Lacking the loyalty of a Liberhan or Nanavati, he managed and finally submitted a report to the Home Secretary JK Duggal. Both the officers confirmed that Ruchika’s statements against the former DGP were all based on facts. Yet, no case was registered to implicate Rathore in abetting suicide, thanks to his clout with leaders of the Congress, BJP and other parties promoted by local satraps. The sentence he has now got is, therefore, a flea bite for the fiend. Rathore has to pay a paltry fine of Rs 1000 and has been sentenced to just six months in jail.

Shopian deaths: Ruchika’s fate in 1993 at the hands of minions who wield power in India was not much different from the one met by two girls in Shopian in May 2009. Neelofar Jan, a young woman of 22 years, and her 17-year-old sister-in-law Asiya ended their lives under mysterious circumstances. Here too, political bosses of Kashmir who kowtow New Delhi for the sake of self-aggrandizement, swept aside allegations of foul play. The ‘honourable’ chief minister was sure that the girls died accidentally by drowning in a stream. Despite the massive furore pointing fingers at the security forces, he passed the verdict that the women were not first raped and then murdered.

Thanks to the presence of global visibility of the disputed territory, satellite TV and a media no more under State control, the outcry was far louder in Kashmir Valley than that had followed the Rathore scandal. The CBI had to show some sense of urgency in investigation, albeit in standard Indian style. The agency meekly confirmed the CM’s story. To muddle the issue, it has recommended action against a dozen persons for fabricating the charges! It is not without reason that CBI is known as Criminal Brains of India, which exists essentially to cover up shenanigans of high-profile bosses.

The Kashmir Bar Association has asked Pakistan to take up the Shopian rape issue with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague. It alleged that the Government of India had failed to deliver justice. KBA’s general secretary GN Shaheen said Pakistan was under obligation to take up the issue as "it is party to the Kashmir dispute."

The Indian judiciary is refractory to any such concern when the stress is on baling out influential persons. Notably, an ‘honourable’ judge granted bail to Rathore in the Ruchika case within moments of sentencing the sex maniac. Under the weird system of justice dispensation in India, it can be predicted that the culprits of the Shopian rape will get the same ‘deterrent’ punishment as the cops of Haryana.

Culpability: JK Duggal, former Haryana home secretary, has confirmed Rathore’s culpability in the suicide of the girl. He said: "It was a political interference (that delayed the matter) because at the bureaucratic level, we had recommended severe punishment. Both RR Singh and I had recommended it. Then the file was held up with the minister." Duggal added: "The quantum of punishment is not justifiable. It should have been much more. The entire family has been harassed. He deserves severe punishment."

SPS Rathore’s mentor KPS Gill, it may be recalled, was convicted and sentenced for tormenting Rupen Deol, an IAS officer. She suffered hell as she refused to take a ‘friendly’ pat on her bum from the drunken boss lightly. Gill, reputed for creating mass graves for dissenters to keep politicians in power, used his terrific influence with bosses to evade punishment for several years. He also had the blind admiration of gullible Indian public working for him.

It may be recalled that KPS Gill paid a couple of lakh rupees in damages only when he could no more prolong the case. His conviction was confirmed at the highest court after decades. Treading the same footsteps of the evil hero, SPS Rathore too has plans to appeal against the verdict. He is very likely to die of old age like a king after amassing enough wealth for his kin and cronies.

Interestingly, Gill is still held in awe by perverted hyper patriots of India for his ‘services’ to the country - of mass slaughter of ‘separatists’. The Ruchika-Rathore episode has again revealed the failure of the construct of India. The entire system of governance put in place by leaders of the so-called freedom struggle favours only Gills and Rathores. Tragically, corrupt and autocratic elements thrive in the name of democracy which is reflected in the rotten judicial system.

Point to ponder: It is time now for hyper-patriotic Indians to ponder over a question: who should be lynched or bludgeoned FIRST, before the other? The rapists of Chandigarh and Shopian as well as the ‘honourable’ politicos who shielded them? Or, Ajmal Kasab for his alleged role in a ruthless mission in 2008?

The Mumbai carnage was intended, arguably, to achieve the goal of ending military oppression in Kashmir. The jihadis had at least some farfetched excuse. In the case of minions who in India have the resources to have fun with numerous professional whores, they do not have even that excuse to kill innocents.

The crime against Neelofar and Asiya was no less satanic than that perpetrated by authorities on Ruchika two decades back. Unfortunately, the sense of morality of ordinary Indians is blinded by an irrational hate complex against people who insist on asserting their distinct identity. The complex has been indoctrinated by heroes of the fake freedom struggle - just a ploy by hypocrites funded by business tycoons to usurp the colony from the British who, in any case, were keen to pack up. Passive villains who have dehumanized the country include the judicial and other authorities who staged (are staging) a cruel farce at public expense to bail out their masters, the real villains.

The author is a policy analyst based in Ahmedabad

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 January 2010 on page no. 1

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