Chandigarh stalking: After SC lawyer, BJP spokesperson Shaina NC shares photo to spread fake narrative
No one likes to be harassed, abused, attacked and raped.
No one, regardless of gender and age, steps out of their homes to invite trouble. In fact, they step out with the belief that situation in the country is not so bad that they would be attacked by someone in the middle of the road in the middle of the night.
This, unfortunately, is until they themselves, or someone close to them, endure such a harrowing experience and choose to speak about it. When that happens, everything changes. Because what follows is mindless VICTIM-SHAMING.
Varnika Kundu, the woman who accused Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar of stalking her, with a possible intent to kidnap, on August 5 on the streets of Chandigarh while she was driving home, would agree.
Varnika made a detailed Facebook post about the incident and it soon made national headlines. Vikas and Ashish were arrested on August 6 after Kundu filed a complaint against them but were soon allowed bail, thanks to the cops who dropped two charges out of five, that were non-bailable. By today, just two days after the crime, reports have it that CCTV footage from areas where the alleged crime occurred is missing.
Kundu’s father Virender Kundu, an IAS officer, wrote a Facebook post to make the family’s stand on the matter clear. In his post, he said, “We promise all the people and the groups supporting us that WE SHALL NOT, EVER, BACK OUT OR STAND DOWN, irrespective of hardships or pressures.”
THEN BEGINS VICTIM-SHAMING.
Victim-shaming, like we mentioned, should be declared the national sport of Indians. Whatever be the incident, majority of Indians, thanks to years of social conditioning, figure out a way to blame and shame the victim. This is true even in the most brutal cases of rape as well.
After the Nirbhaya case sent shiver down almost every Indian’s spine, there were people who asked, “Why was she out on the streets at that time?”, forgetting the fact that it was around 9 PM she boarded the bus in which she was raped. Some asked “Why was she with a male friend?” Had she been alone, question would have been, “Why was she not in the company of at least one man?”
When a colleague, to her luck, averted a situation that could have turned worse, she, courtesy her gender, had to face the similar questions. “Why were you out on the streets at that time?” “If you could call your friend, and if we could reach on time when you did, why didn’t you ask him to drop you to your place in the first place?”
Instead of condemning the acts of his colleague’s son and his friend, the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are resorting to the same tactic – victim-shaming. Haryana BJP Deputy President Ramveer Bhatti said, “The girl should not have gone out at 12 in the night,” and wondered “Why she was allowed to stay out so late.”
“Why was she driving so late in the night? The atmosphere is not right. We need to take care of ourselves,” Bhatti said.
VICTIM-SHAMING CONTINUES ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
Prashant P Umrao, whose verified Twitter account bio says he is a Supreme Court advocate, tweeted, “So called victim daughter of IAS from Chandigarh with Vikas Barala. This story is as true as like Jasleen Kaur of Delhi of Rohtak Sisters”, along with a photo of Varnika with two of her friends.
The lawyer not only resorted to ridiculing the complainant referring to her as “so-called victim”, he shared an image of hers without her consent with an intention to malign her character, because in our country, still, a woman who hangsout with men is looked down upon. Not stopping there, he claimed that Kundu’s version of what transpired on August 5 midnight is false and compared it to the infamous Jasleen Kaur case of 2015, and Rohtak Sisters case of 2014.
Meanwhile, Varnika said that the men in the picture, being widely shared on social media, are not the accused but two of her friends, and she is sad that her friends are being branded as perpetrators and some people are spreading “blatant lies”.
The fact is that even she knew Vikas Barala from before, how does that matter? If someone stalked her and harassed her, they should be punished by law. The argument that even if she knew Barala from before she can’t complain is only as good as saying people who were lynched did carry beef.
In a consecutive tweet, in bad English, the lawyer said, “Corrupt Bureaucracy is upset with Honest CM Khattar. That IAS Kundu is close to Hooda. BTW, Why no medical of Girl, was she also drunked?” Here, Kundu’s and her father’s political inclination/affiliation is being blamed or brought to the forefront rather than addressing the actual issue. He also wanted Varnika to undergo a medical examination to be sure she was not drunk.
This brings us to the set of photos of Varnika that is now doing the rounds on Indian social media. First photo is what Umrao shared, second is a close-up of hers in which her eyebrow piercing is visible, another one where Varnika could be seen sitting with three glasses, possibly with alcohol in it, and one where she is seen with two friends, one male and one female. One of the tweets with these four photos closely translates to, “I am neither a supporter of Subhash Barala nor of the BJP, but take a look at these photos of the “decent” woman who’s accused Barala’s son.”
– Uttar Pradesh Farmer (@WorldJat) August 7, 2017
The message is clear. Varnika drinks and hangs out with male friends, and these are two reasons as per Umrao and all those who are sharing these set of photos, for her to be harassed, abused or even raped in the middle of the night by anyone.
We hope these people get this clear, once and for all – whatever a woman does, drink, smoke, have physical relationships with multiple men at different times or at the same time, abuse in public, roam around on foot, or in a car, at midnight, hangout with men, strangers or friends, hangout with women, THEY DON’T ASK FOR IT.
Senior BJP leaders are tight-lipped about the incident but Shaina NC, Maharashtra BJP’s Treasurer and Spokesperson, lifted and shared the photo Umrao shared, and along with the image, lifted his words too.
Her tweet has now been deleted and she’s claimed that her account was hacked.
Not surprising, those who understand social media and how it is being used lately, multiple accounts, both on Facebook and Twitter are now sharing the photo of Varnika with her friends saying she knew Barala from before. Despite the fact that the victim knowing the accused from before is not a matter of significance in this case, some Twitter users did put in effort to debunk the false claims made by many like Umrao and Shaina on Twitter.
Twitter user who goes by the handle @ironyofindia_ shared an image to prove the man in the photo shared widely looks significantly different from Vikas Barala.