It's been six years but I still clearly remember that evening when I was surrounded by hundreds in Assan village near Rohtak. Residents of this otherwise very quiet village were flummoxed, helpless & yearning to speak their truth. Boys of this village were being shamed on national television continuously for molesting two sisters – Aarti & Pooja – of a nearby village in a moving bus.
Video of these girls beating up the boys went viral and they claimed that whenever any boy misbehaves with them, they beat him up like this only. As these girls gave interview after interview on primetime as #RohtakBravehearts – a tag given to them by the media, passengers of the same bus gathered around me to state that no molestation ever happened in the bus and the fight between the girls and the boys happened because the girls occupied the seat of an elderly lady and boys had asked them to vacate the same.
An altercation pursued and before anyone realized anything, these girls started beating these boys with belts kept in their bags beforehand & handed over the phone to a co-passenger to shoot the entire episode. When the matter landed up in the police station, girls cooked up the story of molestation, uttering absolute lies (they claimed that the boys touched them sexually while every witness in the bus deposed and the video also showed that the boys stood far away from the sisters) and pressurising the police to register FIR. There were talks of compromise and the girls demanded a scooty. Being extrmely poor, boys' families refused, and that's when the video was made viral on social media.
I made two short documentaries at that time capturing the conning and blackmail tactics of #RohtakSisters, interviewing several men and boys from the village and around, who were threatened of a false rape or molestation case in the same manner. One of the boys was forced to drop out of college because his father couldn't risk any more false cases and money extortion.
Kuldeep Singh, son of Balbir Singh, an ex-serviceman who is handicapped, was one of the accused in this case. At that time six years ago, he had cleared his physical exam for Army and had to appear for the written exam. His dreams came shattering when he was first put behind bars over these false charges and then barred by the Army to sit for the exam. No one wanted to know the truth of the matter except few like me and some other media houses who after hearing from eyewitnesses showed their side of the story too. Soon, another video emerged where the same girls were beating another boy in the park and threatening with a similar case. This nailed their lie. Haryana Govt put on hold the bravery award announced for these sisters and the case went for trial.
As media made this extremely ordinary case a national sensation, its investigation was handed over to SIT and a polygraph test also conducted of both the girls and the boys. As truth would have it, the girls failed and the boys cleared the test. For three years next, these boys faced court trials not once but twice where they were DISCHARGED first by the lower court and then Sessions Court. In both the judgments, the judges opined that after considering all the evidence and hearing eyewitnesses, "Prima Facie no case was made out against the Boys." This was 2017.
It is 2020 now, six years since that unfortunate incident and while the girls' lifestyle has changed completely thanks to lacs they got as rewards for faking molestation & beating up boys, these men are still struggling to come to terms with their devastation.
Recently, Kuldeep appeared for HSSC Group D exams, cleared it and got inducted in Haryana Police on contractual basis, his appointment fixed at HAP Madhuban. He had to join on August 2, 2020, but as I write this, he is running from pillar to post to join his well-earned job. Why? Because senior police officers at the department haven't yet cleared his joining because he was once accused of "molestation".
This is not only ridiculous and sheer disrespect of the orders of the honourable court but also absolute human rights violation of Kuldeep Singh. What can this poor boy do to clear the taint on his head? When will this false case leave destroying his life? Kuldeep's father and mother are distraught and hopeless. They are trying to approach every authority to beg for what's due to them.
When this case was in all headlines and villagers went to meet Sh. Manohar Lal Khatter, Chief Minister of Haryana, telling him that the boys are innocent, he said that if they are proven so in the court, they will get a government job. Forget a government job, Kuldeep isn't even being allowed to join a job which he has secured by merit.
It's been three days since I wrote about this matter on Twitter and that tweet went viral. Till now, no authority from Haryana Government or Haryana Police has taken cognizance of this matter.
Haryana Government has aggressively campaigned for #BetiBachaoBetiPadhao which is a very meaningful campaign. But does standing up for "Betis" mean forgetting the "Betas"? Anytime a plea is raised for help for a girl or woman, authorities immediately respond. But here, they have maintained an eerie silence on this issue. Why? Is it okay to let the betas suffer just because they are boys?
If you're reading this and wish to do something about it, send an email to the Chief Minister Office, tag authorities on social media platforms and trend #LetKuldeepJoin everywhere. Maybe someone listens!