ROHTAK: Harassed by three men on a public bus on Friday, two young sisters in Rohtak, Haryana, refused to look away or suffer in silence. In mobile phone footage that has been replayed widely, the girls, Arati and Pooja Kumar, are seen thrashing the offenders while other commuters just watch.
Arati and Pooja, aged 22 and 19, allege that the men started harassing them even before they boarded the crowded bus after college. They were heading home after exams.After enduring their lewd comments, abuses, obscene gestures and touches, the sisters decided to act.
They were seen attacking the men who were grabbing and shoving them while other passengers looked on.”On the bus, they made obscene gestures, touched us and abused us. We could not take it anymore and started beating them. One of the men grabbed my sister’s hand and the other held me by the neck.
That’s when my sister took out her belt and started hitting them,” said Pooja.Her sister Arati added, “Others in the bus told us ‘don’t do anything… they will rape you or pour acid on you. They will kill you’…We were scared but we did not give up.”The police arrested the men, Kuldeep, Mohit and Deepak, on Sunday night after a video clip, shot by a pregnant passenger, went viral on social media and was shown on TV channels.The men, all from one village, were going to join the army. ”
There is no place for such men in the Indian army,” said Army Sources, indicating that their application might be rejected.The sisters allege that the families of the men tried to pressure them into dropping the police complaint. “They told our father – change the statement – they are about to join the army…their lives will be ruined. What about our lives? Can men like these protect our country?” said Pooja.For their feisty act in a state notorious for crimes against women, the sisters will be felicitated by Chief Minister ML Khattar on Republic Day and will receive Rs. 31,000 each.
Their bigger reward is an order that the police and transport department should ensure women’s safety.The driver and conductor of the bus have been suspended.In tweets, many praised the sisters’ act and called them bravehearts, the term given by the media to the 23-year-old student who died after being gang-raped and tortured on a moving bus in Delhi in 2012. The horrific attack sparked outrage across the world and led to soul-searching in India about its treatment of women.