Published on Thu, Dec 24, 2009 at 23:44 in CNN IBN
New Delhi: Her staunch friend Aradhana and her family as well as members of the civil society on Thursday demanded harsher punishment for former Haryana police chief SPS Rathore for molesting teenaged Ruchika Girhotra 19 years ago and lighted candles at the Jantar Mantar to register their protest.
“I just want to say that we have to make every girl in the country safe. I think that our political and judicial system requires reforms as 19-and-a-half years to deliver justice is an example of poor governance and shortcomings of our judicial system,” Ruchika’s friend Aradhana, whose family fought the case, said.
“I was just 13 at that time but with the constant support of my parents we have been able to reach this stage. We demand stricter punishment for Rathore and charging him with abetment to suicide. We have to prove that this is a democratic India and not a barbaric nation. Ruchika’s family should be rehabilitated and they should be granted compensation,” she added.
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Chandigarh on Monday held Rathore guilty of molesting 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra in Panchkula town on August 12, 1990. The budding tennis player committed suicide three years later due to alleged harassment by the police official for filing an official complaint against the molestation. Rathore was sentenced to six-month prison term by the court.
Aradhana said the property and wealth amassed by Rathore during all these years should be confiscated.
“We are consulting the National Commission for Women and a NHRC advocate and we will go forward according to their advice. All political leaders who were in power at that time and who ignored the crime are responsible for Ruchika’s suicide,” said Aradhana, who flew down from Sydney for the court hearing.
“We started this fight because Ruchika had said whatever has happened with me should not happen with other girls. Ruchika’s family has borne the burnt of standing up to an influential policemen like Rathore,” she added.
Aradhana’s father Anand Prakash said: “We are holding this candlelight march in Delhi because it is the seat of power. The people in power should also know the kind of excesses which are happening in other parts of the country. So we will fight until justice is done by Ruchika.”
“We never felt our courage faltering in all these years. From day one we were determined to take the case to its logical end,” he said.
Social activist Swami Agnivesh said the six-month jail term for Rathore was not a punishment but “a mockery of justice”.
“This is a challenge that we face as a nation. We have to become Ruchika’s voice. It is a clear case of abetment to suicide,” he added.
At Jantar Mantar, people carried banners that read “Death to the molester”, “Frame legislation to protect children against abuse” and “Re-investigate the case”.
Ravi Kant, an advocate and president of NGO Shakti Vahini, said Haryana Police officers, on Rathore’s orders used legal and illegal means to intimidate Ruchika and her family.
“The Haryana Police had booked Ruchika’s brother in 11 cases. All the files relating to these cases need to be seized and examined to find out the people responsible for the criminal intimidation of Ruchika’s family,” he contended.
Meanwhile, people holding candles and placards reached the gate of Rathore’s house in Panchkula, a town in Haryana, to demand harsher punishment to the official.