Monday, 22 November 2010

70 dead in building crash, but the building does not exist in MCD's records!

I have done a few posts on the corruption in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. We got to see the biggest consequence of this corruption  on November 15 when an illegally constructed building came crashing down in East Delhi. Seventy persons lost their lives.

Here are some of the earlier posts -
The most corrupt Municipal Corporation of Delhi
Shocking scandal 

The owner-builder of the building has been arrested. But what about the corrupt MCD officers and political masters who would have taken bribes to look the other way so as to have made the building possible? MCD true to its devious ways, is  now saying it has no records of the building! It is a smart and time-tested way to protect one's men. If files go missing, or no records are kept, how would it be proven that the building  existed in the first place?

Some years ago I did a survey of the builder floors in South Delhi. All of them had covered more than the sanctioned area or had more than the stipulated number of floors. Though almost all these buildings had no completion certificate, there were buyers and the properties were being registered by the government.

There there are plenty of buildings standing all over the city flouting norms. I know of two such buildings in my neighbourhood which the MCD made a great show  of  a cosmetic demolition, for these very obviously were protuding on to the common land. But some months later they were all patched up. Yes, the gaping holes in the buildings outer walls made by MCD's demolition squad, were filled and today life goes on in the buildings.  Who benefited in this drama of build-demolish-build? None other than the MCD officers and the politicians.

Delhi is in a high risk earthquake prone zone, and it is makes it all the more necessary that all buildings adhere to some basic norms. But who cares? We are just lucky that there have not been more such cases of building collapse.

An article in the Outlook about MCD stirring to act and the blame game between the two political parties which have ruled the corporation.

This is yet another case of MCD corruption. It would be proper to say of MCD murder. For many lives were lost and families destroyed because of corruption. Will the guilty officers be punished? Wait and watch.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

UPDATE: Municipal Corporation of Delhi's ghost employee case

The latest on the ghost employee case -

The Delhi Police has been unable to trace 212 employees, we are informed. What about the thousands of other ghost employees? Have they been tracked? As a reader, I failed to find a clear answer in the reports by the media tracking the case.

However, we learn that the Delhi Police has lodged two FIRs in connection with the alleged existence of ghost employees in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi after making a door-to-door verification of "the total employees whose details were provided by the civic body for investigation", according to a report appearing in The Hindu. What is the number of the "total employees"? Who knows this number?

Standing Counsel Nazmi Waziri appearing for the Delhi Police has said the police were also investigating whether the muster roll of temporary sweepers of the civic body was also inflated as alleged by the petitioner in the matter.

The Bench has directed the police to file a status report on January 19 after conducting the inquiry into the ghost employee case.

It is necessary to point out that a number of possible reasons or excuses are now being given for the ghost employees. We have to wait and watch for the truth to be uncovered.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Punishment for sexual harassment in the US and for rape and murder in India

I read the following news item from Washington in the Indian Express about a man being indicted by a jury for groping a sleeping woman on a flight-

Ranchhodbhai Lakha, 61, of Alpharetta, Georgia, faces charges of assault and abusive sexual contact for the Sep 28 incident on a Delta Air Lines flight from Dallas to Atlanta, the US Attorney's Office said on October 20, 2010.

A 20-year-old woman seated in the same row as Lakha fell asleep and woke up to find the man allegedly touching her below the waist, according to US.Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. The woman removed his hand but Lakha allegedly touched her again, prompting the woman to get up from her seat and report the incident to a flight attendant, Yates said.

If convicted, Lakha could face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

What amazed me is the kind of punishment he would get - a maximum of life in prison. Just contrast this to the very lenient laws we have in India. Even the recently proposed quantum of punishment for rape gets only a few years in prison. And then, the courts here are so liberal in letting off  sexual offenders, even those who have been convicted of serious crime like rape. The Supreme Court of India recently commuted the death penalty awarded to rapist and murderer Santosh Kumar Singh to life sentence because of some "mitigating circumstances" in his favour. And what did the court find as mitigating? Among them the fact that he  had married after his acquittal by the lower court and was the father of a girl child! What if he had fathered a male child?

As a woman, I find this reasoning difficult to digest. The judgment, like most judgments on rape and murder,  is very patriarchal in its nature, completely overlooking justice to the woman raped and the welfare of the women around the man. In this case Priyadarshini Mattoo who he raped and murdered, strangling her with an electric wire and battering her face with his helmet, and his own wife and daughter who would have to live with the constant reminder of him being in jail. Imagine life for the little girl. Growing up would be so tough knowing that your father was a  rapist and murderer.

What kind of a life would the wife have?  Having to come to terms with the fact that the husband has raped and killed a woman? Would she ever be able to forget that fact? It would be haunting her every single moment of her life.  Controversial as it might sound, it would be better for both the mother and the daughter if he was awarded the death penalty as the court had earlier decreed.  They would have a chance to start their lives afresh.  There would be justice done for Priyadarshini Mattoo, the woman he stalked, raped and brutally killed.  Priyadarshini's father, Chaman Lal Mattoo, who has been fighting a tough battle to get justice for his daughter says he is "shattered and dismayed" by the verdict.  His lawyer has said they would go in for a review of the punishment to be meted out to the rapist and murderer.

Life term in India is really no punishment for the well connected. They have reasonable comforts and do  some light jobs. What is more they can be released in a few years, and be regularly out of jail on parole. Watch on NDTV what Neelam Katara, whose son was murdered, has to say about life term in India.

What do you think should be the punishment for rape, and rape and murder?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A temple for all faiths

The story is very inspiring - A temple of all religions at Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. Imagine Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and others praying together at one spot! The businessman Laljibhai Satya Sanehi who built the the temple 60 years ago must have been a real visionary. I have heard of temples and masjids coexisting, standing side by side, but a common prayer house seems to be the first.
What amazes me is that it has been standing for the last 60 years, being visited by people of different faiths, but those outside of Ayodhya did not know of its presence.

There should be more such temples, not only in India but all over the world. Common prayer houses which are open to people of all faiths. Each such structure would be one small step towards a world free of religious divides. A more spiritual world. What do you say?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The devious ways of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi

Check out the devious ways of our Most Corrupt Department - the MCD.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) admits it has thousands of temporary employees - over 43,415 of them! Why then do we have such filthy streets and overflowing gutters? I have still to see one of these visit my street.
The article by Indian Express gives the answer. Now with the Court looking at its functioning?? (should be non functioning, for it has an army of vampire employees that suck the corporation of its cash), it is coming out with excuses -it now blames its own sanitation department for the mess. Wonder what the authorities were doing earlier?

And the article tells you how the MCD encourages its regular staff to go on leave so that the temporary guys can work for a day or two and then their services will be regularised. Sounds complicated? Sure is. You would need a devious mind to understand the ways of the MCD and the babus and the netas that rule it.

Read the earlier posts on it - to get the full picture.
A must read - the court has had to tell MCD to stop paying the ghost employeees. One would have thought that the department would have done it on its own. But then this Most Corrupt Department, was never known for its work ethics, only for its pits of corruption.

And now for the latest twist to the MCD ghost employee case.
The police says the biometric system that discovered the ghost employees is faulty, according to The Times of India report. This multi-crore system cannot recognise thumb impressions and duplicate impressions. So now this is another issue that has to be probed.

Meanwhile, the The Delhi High Court has ordered that the in-house inquiry report prepared by all additional commissioners of MCD on the ghost employees scam be placed before the police for scrutiny. It asked the police to submit a detailed report by October 27.

I am curious to see how long this case will take, and who will be held guilty. So will be following the proceedings as reported in the Indian press and bringing it to you through this blog.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Some more corruption in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi

And now this - the court has pulled up the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in another corruption case. Rs 1.5 crore misappropriated by its staff.  Is there no end to the corruption by the corporation's staff?

Stinking urinals, bad roads...pavements littered with garbage, when will the Municipal Corporation of Delhi give us a Capital to be proud of? The way the corporation is riddled with corruption, inefficiency, and political bosses who look the other way....a clean and neat Delhi will be a faraway dream.

Not to forget, what the corporation did some months ago - it demolished one of the few night shelters the city has for the homeless. So add to the list - the corporation does not have a heart.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Bhopal - off the radar once again

The Bhopal verdict story is in danger of going off the radar of our news organisations once again.

The Bhopal fatigue which had crippled all our news organisations for decades, has once again overtaken them.  It is sad how the fatigue sets in when the pressure and the chase need to be kept up the most.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) has come up with a compensation packet for Bhopal. Public anger at the verdict -  forced the Government to act. And it did by setting up the GoM.  The GoM has made an announcement which includes a hike in the compensation, the earlier camount we now learn did not all go into the hands of those affected, but like all money that passes "through the government", went into the many  hands of friends, well wishers of the powers that be, all but those for whom it was intended. So the ministers decided that the compensation packet had to be hiked and the government would seek the extraditation of Carbide boss Warren Anderson, who it had actively helped to flee the country. And it was proclaimed finally, that the site leaching toxins into the ground, should be cleaned.

But wait, it is not Carbide who will be footing the bill of either the clean up or the compensation hike. That, if you are an Indian, will be borne by you. The multinational comes in makes profit, pollutes our ground water and air, murders our people willfully by compromising on safety procedures and then flees. And its new avatar - Dow Chemical - is  set to do business again on our land - and we cannot even hold it liable.

An article in the New York Times states Indians are envious of the US response to the oil spill, seethe over Bhopal. So true.

As an Indian, I am ashamed at how the  Indian state has not worked, how it subversed the interest and future of its citizens to a western corporation, of how it let the the Carbide criminals escape. And now of its inability to get the compensation from the polluters and instead foisting the burden on the Indian tax payers.

Yes the contrast between the US response to the oil spill and the Indian reaction to the gas leak is stark. It shows the Indian state as a powerless entity. It cannot put the guilty behind bars, it cannot get the polluter to clean up the mess it created (yes, we look enviously at how Barrack Obama gets the British Petroleum officials running and the pressure being exerted and the funds set up to compensate those affected) and the clean up that has begun. And here for 26 years we let the chemicals and the toxins leach into the ground.

All seven organizations for survivors' rights have strongly condemned the recommendations of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal. They call the government action in setting up the group as a "smokescreen" . In a press release, the organizations have said the recommendations demonstrate "more concern for the welfare of American corporations than for Bhopal survivors".

The organizations said that the compensation recommended by the Group of Ministers would go to less than 10 per cent of people known to be exposed to Union Carbide’s toxic gases. “The GoM has based its decision on the notoriously flawed system of damage assessment that was designed to downplay and diminish the death and injury caused by Union Carbide Corporation. It has made no recommendations regarding review of death claims or registration of exposure related death claims after 1997, when such registration was arbitrarily stopped." The GoM has denied any additional compensation to 521,000 [91%] survivors who received a paltry sum of Rs. 25, 000 for life long injuries,” said Abdul Jabbar, convenor of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan.

The Group of Ministers has gone back on its June 2008 decision to concede Bhopalis long-standing demand to set up an Empowered Commission on Bhopal to oversee rehabilitation. Instead, it proposes to transfer Rs. 720 crores to the Madhya Pradesh Government for medical, economic, social, and environmental rehabilitation. “More than Rs. 530 crores have already been spent by the M.P. Government in the name of relief and rehabilitation, and there is nothing to show for this. The Rs. 720 crores will go the same way – into the pockets of the Ministers and bureaucrats,” said Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action. “The Madhya Pradesh Government’s list of equipment to buy includes fictitious equipment such as 'automatic micro-organism detection instruments' and 'identification & sensitivity of micro organism" that cost more than 35 lakhs," Dhingra added. "The Group of Ministers could just as well put the money straight into these bureaucrats' pockets and save on overhead costs."

The organizations also expressed dismay that the GoM has failed to recommend action for extraditing the authorized representatives of Union Carbide Corporation, USA and Union Carbide Eastern, Incorporated that is now reincarnated as Union Carbide Asia Pacific and Union Carbide Asia Ltd. “As 100% percent owner of Union Carbide, USA, Dow Chemical is guilty of sheltering a fugitive from justice punishable by 3 years imprisonment under Sec 212 of the Indian Penal Code and the Group of Ministers has made no directions regarding the summons against Dow Chemical issued by the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal District Court, on January 6, 2005,” said Balkrishna Namdeo, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Sangharsh Morcha.

The GoM has also failed to recommend any action to make Dow Chemical pay for the clean up of the thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste and extensive damage to human health caused by contamination of ground water. “The Group of Ministers and in particular certain members of it who are known to be Dow Chemical’s agents have made appropriate noises but their money is not where their mouth is," said Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow Carbide. “It has decided to spend Rs. 300 crores of public money towards removal of toxic waste -- something which is the legal responsibility of Dow Chemical."

Survivors' organizations pointed out that Dow Chemical, through its lawyer Abhishek M. Singhvi, has refused to accept jurisdiction of the Madhya Pradesh High Court for the last six years. Despite this, the GoM has not made a single recommendation towards making Dow Chemical answerable to Indian courts, even as the company continues to do business in India. “This clearly displays an intention by the government to let Dow Chemical off the hook and is just as criminal as the act of helping Anderson escape justice. It is in fact a greater crime because Dow Chemical’s ongoing environmental disaster continues to maim and kill people, including the unborn, as we speak today,” said Rashida Bi, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh.

The organizations said that the recommendations of the GoM are designed to please the US-India CEO Forum. GoM's recommendation of spending money from the public exchequer to address the lingering issue of toxic contamination follows from one of the founding principles of the US-India CEO Forum that prescribes a “specific focus on resolving legacy issues such as those impacting Dow / Bhopal tragedy of 1984 … to send a strong positive signal to US investors.” (

The organizations said that the GoM’s recommendations demonstrate the failure of the media attention and public awareness to change the UPA government’s priorities of FDI over the survival of ordinary people in this country.
The signatories to the statement are -
Safreen Khan
Children Against Dow-Carbide

Balkrishna Namdeo
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha

Abdul Jabbar
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan

Syed M Irfan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purusg Sangharsh Morcha

Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh

ND Jayaprakash
Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Bhopal - the Indian system fails again


What is there to say? That the Indian judiciary failed us again. That the Indian government let us  down  once again.
That our political leaders have lost their voice. That corporations can play havoc with our lives, kill us and maim us and we find our hands are tied and our voices muffled.
And what can be said of the Indian  press that is now screaming itself hoarse? Why was it quiet all these years? Why are scandalous facts tumbling out now, years later. Where was the Indian press for 25 long years?
Why wasn't the criminal behaviour of  our leaders exposed earlier?
And what does it say of us as a people?  That while a few of us battled in Bhopal trying our best to focus attention on the plight of fellow humans, the rest of us closed our eyes prefering not to see and did nothing at all for the cause.
We must be ashamed of ourselves!

If you want to know what happened on that fateful night of December 2/3, 1984, click here.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Municipal Corporation seeks consultants to tell how many employees it should have!

To those of you who have been following the progress of the ghost employees case of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on this blog, I have an apology. I am late in posting the developments on the case.

Things have moved somewhat on that front. For one - The Delhi High Court has expressed its annoyance on the way the corporation has been suppressing facts -
"This affidavit conceals everything and reveals nothing. It does not disclose facts," a Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta remarked.
It is best to read the report which appeared in The Hindustan Times on May 13.

And finally -
MCD now needs consultants to tell how many Class 3 and 4 employees it should have. Its work culture is appalling. Let the news story speak for itself.

Why cannot the MCD bosses work out the number for themselves? Why pay a fat sum to consultants to comeup with a figure. It can be got for free - All it has to do is ask the residents associations. Each association will give a number of the sweepers and gardeners that are required to keep its locality clean . The markets associations would do that for commercial areas and the accompanying parking lots where they exist. An officer of the corporation could do some simple calculation on the length of the arterial roads and bigger parks and roundabouts that do not fall under any residents' locality. Each sweeper should have some set Kms of road/pavement length to clean. And each gardener should have a set garden area. Let the MCD employees report to the Residents/ Market Association. Delhi will be spruced and shining...And we can be truly proud of this city that has otherwise so much to offer.

Check this story out -

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Society elders decide five shoe smacks enough punishment for a rapist

Why is society so lenient to rapists? A panchayat in a village let off the rapist, who was the 17-year-old victim's uncle, with just five smacks with a shoe.  What kind of a punishment is this for a serious crime? The community we are informed felt that it's honour was at stake. Why does the perceived "community honour" take precedence over the crime and justice to the victim? Wouldn't community honour be redeemed if a suitable punishment was awarded to the criminal?

Check out the story.

Friday, 12 March 2010

One true heroine - calls off wedding after baby is raped

I was heartened to read the following report in the Hindustan Times -

Bride calls off wedding after infant's rape.

If you have read my earlier post regarding the rape of a six month old baby, you would know why this is such great news.

If things have to change for women, it is the women who must act. The 18 year old bride - Rizwana Parveen -deserves the highest praise for taking the bold step in calling off her wedding after the guest from the groom's side raped the baby. She said she did not want to get married in a village, Kithor in Meerut district, where they did not respect women.

This is the best and the boldest decision the young woman could take and she did it. I hope one of our many NGOs honour her. For she deserves it. And I am so happy that she had the support of her parents and the entire panchayat in taking the action.

Meanwhile, the baby is battling for her life in a hospital. What should the punishment be for such a crime?

An earlier post on the issue of rape and punishment -

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Shame! A six month old baby girl raped

What do you say to this? A 20 year old raped a six month old baby girl left in his care. How brutal can humans get! And we have people who recommend a punishment of a few years for such men. A man like this is so sick in the head, that he would be best bobitted or locked up in a cell for life.

I cannot understand why such people should get away with just a few years in jail. And we have our jurors order the release of a rapist from jail who had raped his student, driving her to suicide. Our law makers felt that as the man had performed well in the civil service exam he should be released. Five and a half year of a jail term that he had already served was enough for him. I gather he is a free man today. Just imagine, he will now be the Indian government's representative, a member of the Indian Adminstrative Service! God help us.

Some prominent citizens have appealed to the Chief Justice of Delhi. against the judgement.

Recently the Chief Justice of India recommend that a raped woman should be free to marry her rapist if she wants. I would think in a civilised society, a rapist should be punished, not offered matrimony. In our country, very few men will come forward to marry a raped woman. And as marriage is held as the be-all and end-all for a woman, there could be instances where a woman  may feel it is better to marry the rapist than face the taunts of the society for the rest of her life. We need to change mindsets so that society shuns the culprit and not the victim. If a man who has raped is made an outcaste, thrown out of his job, made ineligible to ever hold a  government job, and no woman agrees to marry him, and others refuse to socialise with him, instances of rape would come down.
The suggestion by the Chief Justice has shocked many. What justice can women hope to get when our law makers think in this vein? Read here another reaction to the judge's suggestion. And does the fact that there are few women judges tell it all. Women are less than 10 per cent in India's judiciary.

And this post following the bride's reaction.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Rape victim has to resort to a legal notice to take an exam

What do you say to this - A 12 year old school girl who was raped has to resort to a legal intervention to get her school to allow her to take her exam!
And what is this that we learn - that the school thought that her presence at the school would ruin its reputation! Shades of the Ruchika Girhotra case - where instead of providing support to the victim, it threw her out, after she was molested by a senior police officer. In the present case, the young girl was forced to withdraw from school after her neighbour raped her.
The report fails to mention the action against the alleged rapist. It does not tell us what has happed to the criminal and how society is acting against him. Has he been thrown out of his job if he is working, or college if he is a student? Are his neighbour boycotting him? All we know is that he is 20 years old, an adult who raped a child. Why is it that news reports do not mention the action taken againt the man? Or is he roaming scot free?

The progress in the MCD ghost employee case

With the PIL being filed in the alleged ghost employee issue, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi seems to finally be shaking off its stupor. It is reported to have told the court that it has ordered a probe into its ghost employee scam and would need another four weeks to complete it. The next date for the hearing has been fixed for April 28.
Let us see how long this case takes and if the guilty are finally brought to book.
To read a news report on the PIL hearing on February 24 click here.

Another scam hits the civic agency - this time about bogus pensioners! To read, click here.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

A PIL on the MCD ghost employee scam

Here is some heartwarming news - An NGO has filed a Public Interest Litigation regarding the scam relating to the ghost employees on the rolls of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Hopefully, now we will come to know the full truth, which as residents of Delhi and citizens of India we need to know. Regular updates will be posted on this blog. I am pasting below a news item from PTI which gives some details about the PIL. It is unfortunate that apart from the Times of India, no other national paper has considered it worth its while to delve into the ghost employee issue.

As a resident of Delhi, all I can say is that seeing the garbage piled up on the streets and in marketplaces, there appears to be an urgent need for the MCD employees to do their job. The city has become dirtier over the decades.

And the stray dog population of the city has jumped. It has become very risky to go for an early morning or a later evening walk for you may encounter the canine species in packs. If you are lucky all you may have to do is a tap dance over all that dog shit. Wonder what happened to all the MCD employees who are to ensure that our streets are free of the strays? Do they really exist?

Delhi as a world class city? Wish I could see it happening..

Here is the news item about the PIL-

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) The scam relating to alleged ghost employees in MCD today reached the Delhi High Court which sought a response from the NCT government and the civic agency within two weeks on a PIL seeking a probe into it.
Issuing a notice also to Anti-corruption branch, a Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw sought their replies by February 24.
The Bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Jagrook Welfare Society, an NGO, through counsel C S Parashar seeking an inquiry by CBI or an independent agency into the scam relating to the allegation that MCD was paying salary to more than 22,000 of its gardeners and sweepers who existed as employees only on paper.

Earlier post

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Singapore court awards 30 years to a child rapist

Thirty years in jail for raping a child. This is indeed the kind of punishment that should be awarded to child rapists. Singapore shows the way. Read the story in Strait Times.

Contrast this with the punishment meted out to child molesters and rapists in India.

Friday, 1 January 2010

The Ruchika molestation case

The Ruchika suicide case signifies all that is wrong with the Indian system. And how it can be twisted by those in power, to harass simple law-abiding citizens.

SPS Rathore, a senior Haryana Police officer, used the system to play havoc with the lives of the Girhotra family, pressuring them to withdraw the charge of molestation the 14 year old Ruchika Girhotra had made against him. The result - the vivacious Ruchika, a promising tennis player, was forced to end her life, after her family was hounded for over three years following her complaint and her brother was tortured and false cases of auto theft slapped on him.

And what is the punishment that our judiciary system awards Rathore? Six months in jail and Rs 1000 as fine. That too after 19 years!

In fact, in this blog, all the reasons that led to Ruchika's sucide have been discussed in various posts.

First, a sullied police force - Haryana Police, one of the most corrupt in the country. Rathore as a senior police officer, molested the young girl after calling her to his office. It could have led to a rape, but for the arrival of her friend Aradhana, an eye witness to the case. After a complaint was filed against Rathore he went on to harass the family no end. Her friend, Aradhana, and her father have said that her school, Sacred Heart Convent, expelled her follwoing pressure from Rahore. The school has however denied bowing to any pressure. But the case still shows an education system that is most child unfriendly. The school should be like a child's second home. Ruchika had been molested. She did not have a mother. Her teachers should have stepped in, giving her the strength to cope with the trauma. But our education system does not put the child first, many of our top schools are money making rackets open to being exploited by the powerful. If all the teachers and the management of the school had decided that they would stand by the child, Ruchika could have been saved. Aradhana tells us that after the school expelled her, the once vivacious Ruchika went into a shell. The school failed her.

After Rathore had a string of auto theft cases slapped against Ruchika's brother, had him arrested and tortured, the family, which was well settled in Panchkula, was forced to shift to another city as the police, who is supposed to protect, had turned predators. One wonders why Ruchika's neighbours did not protest? Why couldn't they have demanded action against Rathore? And why the management of the Gymkhana club where Ruchika was molested by Rathore, did not throw Rathore out after the charge was made against him? The fact that two teenaged girls had penned a complaint against him, should have been reason enough. Young girls do not go around saying they have been molested, and the complaint should have been ground enough to remove Rathore from the helm of a gymkhana where young girls were coming to play. So the third failure was that of the civil society. Why don't we protest a wrong being done to our neighbour?

What do you call a police officer who tortures children? Is there a word for it? The departmental inquiry against him soon after the crime, which had found him guilty, was put into cold storage and ignored by the state's top politicians. Instead of seeing that the complaint was speedily looked into and the man punished, the political bosses promoted him. He went on to become the DGP of Haryana police. The political system failed the young girl.

It took the complainants nine years to lodge an FIR! And 19 years for the courts to pronounce Rathore guilty! And a sentence of six months of imprisonment and Rs 1000 as fine was awarded to the guilty man. An absolute failure of the judicial system. Our laws do not recognise that a child can be molested.

Thank God for the free press that we have. The only reason it is being given another look is because the television channels took it up, providing regular updates. The public was aghast. The pressure has built up. The case is being given another look. The critics call it trial by the media, but when institutions fail to deliver, it is the media that shows the society what has happened. Like a mirror, it shows the way things are.
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