For Haryana BJP, it is ‘Beta Bachao’ in Barala’s case

By Jaideep Sarin 

Chandigarh, (IANS): Every time the law is violated, there is one set of rules for the common man and another for the privileged class and their spoilt brats. The incident in which the daughter of a senior Haryana IAS officer was stalked, wrongly restrained, intimidated and almost abducted – all in 25 minutes on the streets of Chandigarh by the son of Haryana BJP President Subhash Barala and a friend – proves the point.

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“Ever since it became known that the arrested youth was the son of the Haryana BJP chief, the whole effort has been towards ‘Beta Bachao’ by the high and mighty. Chandigarh Police is under pressure to dilute the matter,” a Chandigarh Police officer told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

The ‘Beta Bachao’ reference is a satire on Haryana’s ruling BJP politicians who have been gaga over the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign for the girl child launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Haryana, a state with the worst sex ratio.

The fact that the incident happened just hours after BJP national President Amit Shah had told Haryana BJP leaders to conduct themselves well in public is another matter.

While the 29-year-old victim and her father lauded the initial response of the Chandigarh Police in helping her by arresting Vikas Barala, 23, and his friend Ashish Kumar, 22, the bureaucrat father must be wondering about the subsequent conduct of the Chandigarh Police.

Both accused had stalked the victim by driving their SUV along her car and trying to block her way. At one point, one of them even walked up to her car and tried to open the door and knocked at the windowpanes but the victim managed to drive away. She later told the police and wrote on her Facebook post that the “boys” wanted to abduct her.

“These boys thought they could either get into my car, or take me into theirs, just because they’re from an influential background,” the victim wrote.

The Chandigarh Police flip-flop on invoking the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections against the VIP brat and his friend are too glaring.

While the First Information Report registered by the police clearly mentions “attempt to kidnap” and “outraging the modesty” of the victim, the relevant sections were conveniently omitted in the case made against the accused. They were booked under milder bailable sections (354D – stalking a woman; 341 – wrong restraint; and 185 of Motor Vehicles Act – drunken driving). So the accused were out on bail within hours.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Satish Kumar, after admitting that the complainant had mentioned the bid to kidnap her and outraging her modesty, diluted the matter later saying nothing of this was mentioned by the victim in her statement under Section 164 Cr.PC before a Magistrate due to which the police did not include the stiffer, non-bailable sections.

The attempt to abduct section was not included at all. Following criticism in the media, social and political circles, the Chandigarh Police is now saying they are seeking legal opinion.

That the top brass of the Chandigarh has chosen to keep mum over the matter and the investigation speaks about the pressure on them.

Chandigarh’s Member of Parliament Kirron Kher, a woman, has chosen to wash her hands off from the matter saying she has no control over Chandigarh Police.

Chandigarh, being a union territory, is directly managed by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the BJP-ruled central government. Chandigarh’s Administrator V.P. Singh Badnore, also the Punjab Governor, is a former BJP MP from Rajasthan.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who has always harped on his transparent and fair governance claim, has been defending the state BJP President Subhash Barala saying he has nothing to do with the case involving his son.

Khattar has ruled out Barala senior’s resignation as Haryana BJP President.

While the victim and her family have decided to fight and take the case to a “logical conclusion”, the BJP and the system is working overtime to save junior Barala – ‘Beta Bachao’.