Haryana puts bravery award for Rohtak sisters on hold

CHANDIGARH (TIP): Amid new disclosures in the alleged molestation of two sisters in a moving bus near Rohtak on November 28, the Haryana government, on December 4, put its decision of honouring both the girls on Republic Day on hold till the final outcome of a probe. The government made the announcement of honouring the girls on the basis of media reports. But the decision is being held back in the wake of new inputs, including the surfacing of three videos related to the controversy.

Many co-passengers, including a few women, told the police there was no molestation in the bus and the girls thrashed the boys in the course of a dispute over a seat. However, the two sisters have been terming passengers’ statements as stories concocted to pressurize them. “Whether or not to award the girls will be ascertained only after investigating the matter,” said chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar while speaking to journalists in Rohtak. The CM also assured an impartial probe into the matter when family members of the accused and other villagers met him.

The three youths, Mohit, Kuldeep and Deepak, from Asan village of Sonipat, were arrested and later released on bail. On December 1, the Khattar government had announced that both sisters would be honoured. At the time, Khattar said both girls showed indomitable courage and bravery by opposing the misdemeanour of three youths who tried to molest them. “Initially, we received a message from the media and other sources of the government that the two girls had to struggle after they were teased in a bus. Being a sensitive government, we took the first step (of honouring the girls) in public interest,” said Jawahar Yadav, adviser to Haryana CM, on December 4 . “Till now, three videos have surfaced and according to the opinion of the government, there should be no injustice with anybody, girls, boys or any other associated party like the driver and conductor of the bus,” he said.

In the latest video, family members of the accused are seen thrashing them and asking them to seek an apology from the girls at the police station. “Kuldeep’s father Balbir Singh, a retired soldier, was very upset. Despite the accused insisting they were innocent, he asked them to seek an apology from the girls because he was apprehensive about their career in case an FIR was registered against them,” said Sandeep Rathi, advocate of the accused, who claimed that the video was prepared by the girls’ family in the police station. In another video, the girls were seen thrashing a youth at a park in Rohtak. Residents of the native village of the accused have been opposing any award for the girls. “The government should set up a special investigation team to probe the matter,” said Raj Singh, sarpanch of Asan village.

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