Chandigarh stalking case: Political leaders rally behind victim after BJP member's initial insensitive comment

Days after a case of stalking and drunk-driving involving the son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala was registered with the Chandigarh Police, leaders across political parties have commented and shown support for the victim, who happens to be the daughter of an IAS officer in Haryana.

But members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday resorted to blaming the woman involved , questioning why she was allowed to "stay out so late". "The girl should not have gone out at 12 in the night," state BJP vice-president Ramveer Bhatti told CNN-News18. "Why was she driving so late in the night? The atmosphere is not right. We need to take care of ourselves."

BJP spokesperson Shaina NC tweeted with a picture of the victim — which was later found to be inaccurate — saying "So called victim beti with Vikas Barala... Story as true as Jasleen Kaur of Delhi and Rohtak sisters." Shaina soon deleted the tweet and claimed that her account was hacked by someone, and that she did not intend to send the original tweet.

But others in the BJP did come out in support of the victim.

The Congress has alleged that there is an attempt to brush the case under the carpet to protect Subhash Barala and his son Vikas.

Congress workers also staged a protest in Chandigarh to urge the police to bring the culprits to book.

The victim had called up the police on Friday night complaining that two youths were chasing her along a stretch of over five kilometres. Vikas (23) and Ashish Kumar (27) were initially arrested but were released on bail hours later. The CCTV footage of the incident was initially claimed by the police to be missing but now has surfaced.

While the state BJP ruled out Barala's resignation, its deputy president Bhatti's comments have been questioned by the National Commission for Women.

The victim, in her complaint to the police, had said the two men followed her in their SUV, pulled up the vehicle close to her car several times and even tried to block her way. She told ANI on Tuesday, "I feel it might have been easier if they (the accused) didn't have connections, but it's not over till it's over."

Her father, a senior officer in the state government who had taken to social media to urge people to fight crime against women, told that he had full faith in the system and was grateful to Chandigarh Police for "saving" his daughter's life. On Monday, however, he said that the victim's family would move court if the charges against the alleged culprits were diluted.

MP from Chandigarh and BJP leader Kirron Kher assured the victim on Monday that justice would be served and had rubbished the claims of the CCTV footage going missing. She also said that the police were under no political pressure and were doing their job. Kher also rejected claims that the accused were booked under lenient provisions as one of them is related to the state BJP leader.

The police, too, has denied claims that they were under political pressure in this case. "We are investigating the case from every angle, all cases are different and should not be compared," Eish Singhal, Chandigarh SSP said.

Updated Date: Aug 08, 2017 12:56 PM

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