The Haryana government Thursday announced to put on hold its decision of rewarding two Rohtak sisters, who hit headlines last week for thrashing three youths allegedly harassing them onboard a roadways bus, till the investigation into the case was completed.
After a video of Aarti and Pooja thrashing the trio went viral, the state government had announced that the two sisters would be given a cash reward of Rs 31,000 and also honoured on Republic Day for their “exemplary courage”.
The driver, Balwan Singh, and the conductor, Labh Singh, have now also been reinstated by the state government after several roadways employees’ unions jointly protested their suspension. Even, the three accused — Kuldeep, Deepak and Mohit (all residents of Rohtak’s Aasin village — have been released on bail.
The fresh developments in the case come after three women who were on the bus from Rohtak to Sonipat told the police that “the boys were innocent and the girls were responsible for the incident”.
The women claimed that no sexual harassment took place. Rather a dispute over a vacant seat led to an argument. They also said getting their video shot on a cellphone was a pre-meditated. The affidavits on “character” of the sisters from three residents of Thana Khurd village also punched holes in the girls’ allegations.
Two more videos featuring the girls appeared days after the incident. In one of the videos, they were filmed thrashing a youth also for allegedly teasing them.
In the third video, which Aarti and Pooja claimed they uploaded on the Internet, father of one of the accused Kuldeep was shown beating him up at the police station.
Welcoming the government’s decision, Deepak’s father Shripal said, “If our boys are wrong, they must be punished. But if they are not… the girls should be punished.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Kuldeep said he had not thrown any chit with mobile numbers towards the girls. “If we had done anything wrong, why would witnesses come out in our support?”
Aarti, however, stuck to her stand. “We have not done anything for money or publicity… We have enough medals and certificates to our credit. We won’t resort to such cheap publicity stunts.”
Father of the sisters Rajesh accused the government of bowing to pressure from families of the accused. “We will wait for the probe report.”