Thank You Induji.
Savdhaan India, January 11, 2013
Mohnish Bahl's personal thoughts: "It is horrible what some people have been through in life ... Where do they find the strength to carry on? This strength cannot be anything short of divine strength ... But then one wonders ... why should anyone have to go through any thing as horrible and that too at the hands of another ..."
On Mahim beach a girl collapses and she blurts out in Bengali that she has been raped. Her case is in the court, but they need a translator. College teacher, Mrs Anuradha Ganguly is approached. But she turns down the request because she is busy. On second thought, persuaded by her daughter, she attends the court where Ruksar Khatun's case is being heard. To her utter disbelief and shock, the translator is misquoting her entirely. The conspiracy between the so-called translator and the "defence" lawyer is evident. Mrs Ganguly points out the deliberate distortion of Ruksar's statement; and the judge overrides the lawyer's contention about the reliability of his translator and appoints Mrs Ganguly.
Mohnish Bahl gives statistics: Incidence of rapes have been progressively escalating, through 2006-07, and as also reviewed in 2010-11. To us these are mere numbers and now, was Ruksar another such statistic? Another ghastly statistic, out of over 22,000 cases, almost half were between the ages of 15 and 20. Ruksar has lived through a nightmare that is further compounded by the fact that she speaks only Bengali.
Ruksar's tale now unfolds. How Mohnish Bahl is able to even narrate or anchor this case is most creditable, because listening to the story unfold makes one's blood curdle. Ruksar is brought by her maternal uncle to be "married off"; he abuses, molests and rapes her… and this goes on for a month before some people arrive and ostensibly "save" her from the clutches of her uncle… but that relief is short lived as her savior "pays" off the uncle, and takes her to a room where she is caged and mercilessly raped, starved, left naked to suffer as she is raped again and again. One after another persecutor inflicts his lustful beastly intentions on Ruksar… till she is actually "brought" to a police station, where she is interned and raped by the keepers of law. Next is a "senior" policeman, who also joins the list of torturers. She is beaten, raped, tortured, and threatened repeatedly. Somehow Ruksar's complaint is registered and brought to the courts. And there the tactics were being adopted to twist the case before Anuradha Ganguly comes on to the scene.
The culprits try every trick in the book to intimidate her. Anuradha's family is warned. Her husband insists that she withdraw her support to Ruksar in the case. The husband takes the daughter away, but Anuradha stands firmly by Ruksar's side. Even while in so-called protective custody, Ruksar is tortured and raped again and again… and also pressurized to withdraw her case. But she does not give up. Over time, the judge, who was the one person who was firmly trying to keep the case on track, was transferred out. The culprits had hoped for just this.
If it hadn't been for Anuradha's determination to help Ruksar, the case would have been overridden by distorted statements and hidden evidence. Anuradha sought the help of a Women's welfare organization and the media. There are protests and demands for justice.
Ruksar withstands all the torture, just so that she can get justice, and the unflinching support Anuradha renders cannot be praised enough. Through all odds and with the sole support of the judicial system, especially when the police custodians themselves were behaving worse than beasts, somehow the case remains on track in the road to seeking justice. The case is fast tracked. With all the tortures perpetrated and the threats was Ruksar never afraid? What could be worse than what I have already been through, was the hapless girl's response.
Mohnish commends the stoic assistance rendered by Anuradha, and the fact that Ruksar did not give up her fight. The case is still in the courts, but Ruksar is living peacefully, with her self-esteem and dignity, in Mumbai, waiting for the day of justice. There are women's organizations ready to help, Mohnish Bahl reminds the viewers. The helpline number of 1091 assures prompt assistance to women in distress. So do not take anything passively, please stay secure safe, and Fight Back!