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In Focus

August, 7

BJP’s “Beta Bachao, Balatkar Badao” Yojna?

Stalking. Harassment. Abduction. Molestation. Rape. They have nothing to do with attraction, and everything to do with power. Power over. And if your father happens to hold a position in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, you can be sure that the police will water down the charges against you and let you off on bail so you can bide your time until your bad publicity slowly goes away.

This is the story of BJP brat Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP Chief Subhash Barala. At midnight on August 4, he stalked a 29 year old woman for seven kilometers over a half an hour period and tried to abduct her.

Being part of a Union Territory, Chandigarh police are directly under the purview of the Home Ministry. BJP’s protection of the accused is evident in the mishandling of the case. Despite the victim’s FIR clearly alleging harassment, attempted abduction and the outraging of her modesty by Barala, the police chose to collude with the perpetrator by dropping non-bailable IPC Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 365 ("kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person"), 354 (“outraging the modesty of a woman”) and 511 ("punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment”). They deliberately diluted the charges to IPC Sections 354D (stalking) and 185 (drunk driving) before letting him off on bail. Worryingly, there is no footage from six CCTV cameras.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was quick to come to the defence of the BJP Haryana Chief Subhash Barala, even as the Barala family took to social media to shatter the victim’s anonymity and attack her character. BJP Chandigarh Vice President Ramveer Bhatti even dared to question why the victim’s parents allowed her out at that hour, betraying the party’s medieval and misogynistic mindset.

For her part, the brave young lady is unwilling to let Vikas Barala off the hook. As the daughter of an IAS officer she recognises her responsibility to hold BJP’s VIPs accountable on behalf of the many women who cannot breach their political immunity. Abuse thrives in silence. Her voice, amplified by the people of India and the Congress, will shatter BJP’s “Beta Bachao, Balatkar Badao” culture of complicity in violence against women.

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