Is it 19 years too late?

Posted: December 29, 2009 in suicide
Tags: , ,

It’s shameful the way everyone, including the media, is climbing all over each other to cash in on the Ruchika case. And suddenly, everyone is asking all the right questions – the ones they should have been asking ever since the story broke in the 1990s.

Why was a case of ‘abetment of suicide’ not registered against Rathore?

Why didn’t the police protect the Girhotra family, especially her brother Ashu, from the harassment?

Why didn’t CBI go after the monster despite government pressure?

Why didn’t the courts step in earlier?

Why did the various chief ministers promote the man?

Why didn’t the Centre question these promotions?

Why didn’t the State confiscate his medals?

Why was the National Commission for Women mum?

Why didn’t the Centre order a reinvestigation into the case earlier?

Why did the various MPs from Chandigarh not intervene?

Why didn’t someone castigate the school officials for rusticating Ruchika on some frivolous charge?

Why didn’t the print and broadcast media highlight the fact that a crooked cop and his team of even more crooked lawyers were subverting the legal system, for the past so many years?

Why, why why….

I have a question too. Why all this posthumous, self-righteous hand-wringing and tears, now, by all those who kept quiet these past nineteen years?

I read about the case when I was Chandigarh in 2000. Everyone knew about it, including the media, but no one thought it was worth carrying on with, because everyone knew of SPS Rathore and his ways. The story died a natural death along with Ruchika. Heck, she was just another statistic. I guess the concept of citizen journalism hadn’t really been explored then. I spoke about the poor coverage on the incident to a friend who knew the family and she said “Who cares about poor Ruchika, when newspapers and TV channels have more interesting things like the private lives of personalities.”

Even the newspaper I worked for didn’t really care about the case. It was shrugged off as an old story that had outlived its shelf life and news value. But then, to my Resident Editor even reports of illegal abortions of the female fetuses and the hundreds of illegal pre-natal diagnostic clinics that thrived right under the noses of the legal fraternity and police was a “non-story”!

For those of you who don’t know, these clinics are used to determine the sex of the unborn child and if it’s a female they force the wife to abort. These clinics are still doing roaring business everywhere in the country. The matter has even come to the notice of the Supreme Court, but the media doesn’t think it’s worth launching a campaign for because it neither gets them the TRPs nor the circulation figures. No one gives a shit about another girl being killed even before she can enter this world. Sad, but true.…

Anyway, ever since Rathore got away with a six-month sentence and a measly thousand bucks in fines reportedly due to his “old age and the prolonged trial” the media, the respective governments, and the CBI have suddenly rediscovered Ruchika and the family fight for justice! Well, better late than never…

In all this, what is heartwarming is the role of the Prakash family, whose daughter was Ruchika’s best friend and the one who saw her friend disintegrating mentally, culminating in the suicide. Today even family doesn’t help in times of trouble, and here was a friend who stood by the Girhotras. To be harassed and humiliated by the system that they could not retaliate against must have been a terrifying ordeal.

I hope they get justice. I hope they can put men like Rathore away for a long, long, time and throw away the key. I hope someone can change the legal system and ensure that life imprisonment means putting someone away in jail till he dies and not walking away after 14 years.

When I got back home from work yesterday my son told me he had cut his foot on the silencer of a motorcycle, while playing. I rushed him to the clinic, ensured he was given an anti-tetanus shot, and hugged him to make him feel better. And all that he required were two strips of Band-Aid to cover the cuts. I can’t even bear to think what the Girhotra and Prakash families must have gone through these nineteen years.

  1. Ayesha says:

    Sir, this is one of the countless cases of our Indian justice system being "fair". When the police can arrest a 60 year old man who has done nothing but come to India and set up educational institutes for students to learn offbest courses like animation and aviation, accuse him of human and drug trafficking and then put him in Tihar jail for almost 8 months without evidence or a proper trial, I don't find it very hard to believe how the Ruchika case has been dealt with.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A brilliant piece. Truly brilliant…gut-wrenching and really inspiring.

  3. atul joshi says:

    What stood out in this case is the 100% commitment of a friend who was just 14 years old then and a witness to the crime!.To fight for a friend for 19 years is unheard of these days! Even your kith and kin would give up. I strongly feel this is a classic example of bravery, not in the dictionary meaning, but bravery to fight agnaist a corrupt system.I do hope the Govt recognises the friend and awards her the Chopra's award during a special function in the central hall of the Rrashtrapati Bhavan.

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