After 19 years and 450 hearings, though convicted for molesting Ruchika, a 14 year old school girl and a tennis player, SPS Rathore is still smiling. The victim drank poison 16 years ago and killed herself, when she lost all hope for justice.
Two weeks after an inquiry report indicted Rathore, Ruchika had been expelled from school. (where Rathore’s daughter also studied) [link1] [Link 2]. Her family was harassed. Her father lost his job. Her brother Ashu was detained on false charges of theft. [Link]. The molester then around 47, was promoted and allegedly protected by politicians [Link].
Now he has been given 6 months RI and one thousand rupees fine. He was immediately out on bail. and seeing him smile Ruchika’s father says he wept for the first time, [Link]
“For what you are laughing? Chaudah saal ki bachchi mar gayee hai tere karan, aur tu hans raha hai? Itnaa besharam, itna darinda tu! And nobody has bothered, das saal tak FIR lodge naheen hoti…after recommendation by the DGP…”
(Translated : “What are you laughing for? A fourteen year old child has died because of you and you are laughing? You are so shameless? You are such a monster? And nobody has bothered. No FIR was lodged for ten years …after recommendation by the DGP…!”)
[Link, PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO.]
Ruchika, 14 and Aradhna, 13 were budding tennis players, SPS Rathore was the President of Haryana Lawn Tennis Association. Here’s what happened on August 12, 1990, as told by Aradhna to NDTV. [Link and video]
“That day Rathore (then Inspector General of Police in Haryana) called Ruchika, so Ruchika took me along and when we reached there Rathore asked me to go and fetch the coach, so I went to fetch the coach, when I came back Rathore was holding Ruchika very tightly and she was struggling to release herself … I was standing there in a moment of shock and I said the coach is not coming and then I could see what was happening and he shouted at me and said go again and tell him I have called him, at that point of time also he was shouting at me, and … you can see the guts of the person… I was 13 but he was so aged, professional… he tried it again, he wanted me to go…but in the meantime Ruchika just ran off…”
“She was very disgusted with what had happened with her, and obviously if a girl is disgusted when somebody had touched her …unwillingly… she would not like to share it with the world…but what happened when we went to play the next time, we gave a gap and then we went to play, we played and when we were coming back, … the person came and said that Rathore is calling Ruchika, he wants her to see him now alone… he wanted to see her alone, I and Ruchika looked at each other, … we realised that she was saved that day but I don’t know…will she be able to release herself, or will I be able to come in time again… we just ran off to her place, and we talked to Girhotra Uncle, but she does not have a mother… so it was difficult for her to share that whole incident with her father, so she started telling but she started crying so she could not explain it… she used to come to my house very often so she was very close to my mother…”
So Ruchika explained what happened to Aradhna’s mother. Aradhna was traumatised too. She kept asking her mother “What kind of a male psychology is that? Why a man who is married and that age, why he held her… why he molested her, his daughter is in the same school, just a year or two younger…”
“She stopped interacting with anybody in the class; she had just one best friend whom she would confide in, and she would not go out at all during her recess or during the assembly. She would just sit in class and keep crying.”
Did the classmates know what had happened to her?
“We had heard rumours of what had happened with her, heard may be she has been molested, and may be there was more to it than just molestation, but there was never any confirmation on this,” says Gitanjali. Later, Gitanjali recalls, “she stopped coming to school and nobody knew what happened to her thereafter.”
The way her friends had heard rumours but were not sure of exactly what had happened shows exactly what happens in all such cases. The victim instead of finding support and sympathy, finds herself being ostracised by a peer group that does not understand what’s happening. The school’s conduct was disgusting. But then the teachers come from the same society… A sensible and sensitive teacher could have saved Ruchika’s life.
‘With her story now the focus of a national debate, Ruchika’s friends and family want you to help in their fight for justice. For her death anniversary this year, they have launched an online campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org‘ [Link]
Should the case be reopened ? [Link] I think this case should become another exemplary case like Jessica Lal murder case. Maybe then the three extraordinary people who have fought this courageous battle against all odds for 19 years will find some peace.
EDITED TO ADD: I am adding this email I received today. Here’s something we can do.
Subject: Join Dharmayudh
Dear friends,I am sure you all must be following Ruchikas case,Please refer to page 11 of Times of India today dated 29/12/09Ruchikas friend Aradhana Prakash has made apublic appeal requesting people to support her in her fight against the system and DGP.I will request you to spare a few valuable minutes from your schedule to support her in her cause,Yesterday it was Ruchika tomorrow it might be one among us,Please send a mail to: email@example.com and support her cause,Let the will of people prevail,Let us show that Aradhana ia not alone in her fight
Thanks and regards
One can also sign the online petition by clicking on this link