Two sisters from Rohtak, who rose to fame a couple of years ago after a viral video that showed them beating up three men on a bus went viral, have said their reaction will be no different if anybody were to misbehave with them again.
“Agar mere saath phir se aisi harkat hogi, tho main waise hi jawab doongi jaise unhe diya (If a similar incident happens to me, I will react the same way I did with them),” said Arti, one of the sisters, a week after a local court dismissed their case and exonerated the three men accused of harassing them.
Rohtak additional civil judicial magistrate Harish Goyal cited contradictory statements made by the sisters to dismiss the case last Friday. The three accused – Kuldeep, Mohit and Deepak – later said that though they have received justice, their “false implication” in the case has thrown their lives into disarray.
Soon after the November 2014 video of the incident on the Haryana Roadways bus went viral, a second clip showing the two sisters beating up another person in a park emerged on the social media. This prompted some people to allege that the duo, who had gained the “Sonepat bravehearts” tag, were actually habitual bullies.
The two sisters, both students in a Gurgaon college, said deliberate attempts were made to besmirch their character. Arti claimed a majority of the witnesses gave statements about their character to the police, and not the incident itself.
“The issue of character was raised to break both Pooja and me,” she said, adding that insinuations about the sisters fighting with the men over a seat were merely part of a ploy to divert attention from the real issue.
“They passed lewd comments at us,” the girl maintained.
The sisters admitted that the lower court’s verdict had come as a big blow. “But my family will challenge it before the Punjab and Haryana high court,” said Arti.
Rajesh Kumar, their father, said the fight was not confined to just getting justice for Arti and Pooja. “The question here is not only of my daughters, but of a large number of daughters who want to save themselves from eve-teasing,” he said.
The family said it faced many challenges in the course of the court case, with local khap panchayats pressuring them to withdraw it. “The khap leaders approached my father, asking us to reach a compromise with the accused. When we refused, a social media campaign was launched to malign us. Obscene images, jokes and songs laced with abuses were circulated. We complained to the police, but no action was taken,” said Arti.