On Friday night Chandigarh police arrested Vikas Barala, son of Subhash Barala, the head of the BJP’s Haryana unit and his friend Ashish Kumar for “stalking and wrongful restraint” of a woman.
Timeline of the events
What Happened on Friday night?
A 29-year-old disc jockey and daughter of an IAS officer from Chandigarh, Varnika Kundu in her Facebook post has alleged that she was chased by two people on Friday night.
In her Facebook post, Varnika said that she was driving home from the Sector 8 market, Chandigarh at around 12.15 am on Friday night when she noticed an SUV following her as she entered sector 7.There were 2 guys in the SUV who chased her and blocked her road.
She wrote on Facebook
“WAS ALMOST KIDNAPPED ON A CHANDIGARH ROAD LAST NIGHT.
That being said, I’d like to take a moment to commend and thank Chandigarh Police for unparalleled efficiency and attention to a distress call from me. They almost restore my faith in the system.
Here’s what went down;
I was driving home from the sector-8 market at about 12:15 am, and crossed the road into sec-7, where the petrol pump is.I was also on the phone with a friend at the time and realized about a minute later that a car was following me.It was a White SUV, and as I noticed it, it pulled up and started driving alongside my car. I was now in sec-7, heading towards the lights next to St.Johns’ in 26.
There were 2 guys inside the SUV, and they seemed to really be enjoying harassing a lone girl in the middle of the night, judging by how often their car swerved, just enough to scare me that it might hit me.
By now I was totally alert and mildly panic-y, so I decided to turn right from the St.Johns’ traffic lights towards Madhya Marg(a more crowded, seemingly safer road).I tried to turn right from the lights but the SUV blocked my way, forcing me to go straight into sec-26.
At the next turn, I tried to turn again, but this time they went a step further;
Right at the turn, they blocked the road in front of my car, and the guy in the passenger seat got out of the car and started walking towards me. I reversed as fast as I could and went straight and took the next right turn before they could catch up again.
I used this time to also call the cops at 100, and explain to them the situation and my exact location and where I was headed. The cop who answered my call intuitively sensed the urgency in my voice and promised me that help would be along very soon.
I hung up and had now reached the main road, and hadn’t seen the SUV for about 15 seconds, so I hoped, that they’d seen me calling the cops and disappeared. I was wrong.
I was now on a straight road for about 5-6kms (Madhya Marg), and that entire time, the SUV stayed alongside my car, trying to bully me into stopping every 10-15 seconds LITERALLY.
I was in a full-blown panic attack by now because they would keep trying to corner me, and I’d somehow maneuver my way out and keep moving.
My hands shaking, my back spasming from fear, half in tears, half bewildered, because I didn’t know if I’d make it home tonight.
Who knew when, or if, the cops would show up.
These guys INCESSANTLY bullied me all the way to Solitaire(end of 6kms), and at the traffic lights, blocked my car for the final time. This time they meant business, because they left me absolutely no space to move or escape, and the passenger JUMPED out of the car and moved towards mine.
I don’t know how, but I reversed my car and moved to the right where there was space, all this while constantly honking so the few vehicles around would know something was wrong.
At this point, the guy had reached my car, banged loudly on my window, AND TRIED TO OPEN THE DOOR HANDLE!
Just as he did this, I saw a PCR pull up at the lights, quite possibly in response to my call. They heard me honking and saw the SUV swerving left and right in an attempt to block me, and a couple of cops ran out towards the SUV, nabbing it just in time, because they were blocked in by traffic.
I, still shaking from fear, drove straight home, and told Virender Kundu what happened, getting him back with me to file the complaint.The 2 boys, who of course, are from influential families with political connections, have been arrested and the complaint has been filed.
At the risk of sounding redundant, I need to mention and thank Chd Police again because had it not been for their timely response, I might not be writing this status today.
If this is what women deal with in one of the safer cities in the country, where are we going?
I find it shocking, that in a place with cameras at every light and cops every 200 metres, these boys thought they could either get into my car, or take me into theirs, just because they’re from an influential background.
I’m lucky, it seems, to not be the daughter of a common man, because what chance would they have against such VIPs?
I’m also lucky, because I’m not lying raped and murdered in a ditch somewhere.
If this can happen in Chd, it can happen anywhere.
Haryana BJP president Subhash Barala’s son Vikas(23) and Ashish Kumar (27) were arrested for allegedly stalking the woman. However, both the accused were released later on bail as they were booked under bailable sections of the IPC and the Motor Vehicles Act.
The reports claimed that after the boys were arrested, they were taken for a medical examination which concluded that they were drunk. As reported by The Indian Express, several legal experts said that looking at the allegations against the accused, charging them under Sections 354D (stalking) and 341 IPC (wrongful restraint), and Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act was not enough and since the girl has said she was “almost kidnapped” during the chase, they could have booked the accused at least under the attempt to kidnap Sections (365 and 511) of the IPC.
The police in their defense has claimed that they are taking a legal opinion regarding the matter. According to the Chandigarh police, they had tried to acquire the CCTV footage from 9 cameras along the route but all were found to be non-functional.
The case has garnered a lot of attention and the bailable sections applied by the police is being seen as an attempt to cover up the case. Police’s claim that all CCTV were nonfunctional also raises serious questions about the safety of the common people and looks like an attempt to weaken the case looking at the political influence of the accused.
The case has been condemned by all the political parties with the opposition Congress alleging that BJP is trying to weaken the case with political pressure. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that action would be taken against Barala’s son. BJP MP Kirron Kher on Monday said the Chandigarh Police was not facing any political pressure in the stalking incident and assured the victim and her family that justice would be done.
According to a TNM Report, BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy on Monday said that he is going to file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the case of “attempted abduction of an IAS officer’s daughter by two drunk goons” in Chandigarh.
“Police did a u-turn in the case. They booked the accused under a bailable offense and then let them go,” Swamy told IANS.”I will file a PIL with my associate lawyer A.P. Jagga in Chandigarh on attempted abduction of the IAS officer’s daughter by two drunk goons. Why I am going to file the PIL is because this is a matter of women’s rights and women’s safety,” he added.
Whatever may be the case it seems like it’s the common man who loses the most, as said by Varnika if the victim would have been from a less privileged family this case might have been handled like other open and shut VIP cases.
An example of these cases was also seen in the recent Gudia case from Shimla where people are alleging that the Rapists were close to some big political names of the ruling party, Congress and attempts were being made by the police to shield them.
It is interesting to see the selective outrage of the political parties in the cases, in the Shimla case BJP was actively voicing their opinions and in Varnika case allegations are being made by the Congress. And in between all these the common people suffer the brunt of this VIP culture.
We hope that the proper action is taken against the accused and the case is not diluted like most of the time when it involved the VIPs.