Tikri Border has been in news for the past six months ever since it became one of the most popular Farmer’s Protest sites, but recently Tikri Border made headlines for a very perplexing and worrisome reason for the Gang Rape of a 25-year-old woman from West Bengal. In the first week of April also, incidents of sexual harassment by Male activists of Swaraj Abhiyan were reported on Social Media by “Student for Swaraj” activists.
I am also one of those few girls who participate actively in student’s activism. Being a student activist from around past 4 years, I have travelled a lot within the Punjab state and even out of state various times, and luckily no such incident has ever happened to me or any of the other my co-girl-activist but hearing about this incident has shaken my conscious and that is why I felt that it was important to write about it.
Let us first dissect the horrific tale of the Gang Rape of a 25-year-old woman who came all the way from West Bengal to take part in the Farmer’s Protest at the Tikri Border site. She reached the protest site in Mid-April and since then she was subjected to sexual assault more than once. Even while coming to Delhi, she was subject to sexual assault on the train. On April 25, she was admitted to a private hospital in Bahadurgarh after her health deteriorated.
Her father came to meet her on April 29 when she narrated her story in detail but she died a day later on April 30. It would not have come to light had her father not reached Delhi and reported the matter to the police. Thereafter the FIR was registered by her father on May 8 against six accused. Such is the plight of women activists in the progressive circle that she doesn’t find a voice to speak about her pain and suffering.
From the very beginning of the farmer’s protest, we have seen women of all backgrounds and all age groups coming out of the homes and participating actively and leading this movement this actually was inspiring for every woman, irrespective of ideological and political barriers, but this gruesome incident has shaken the will of every woman. Once again women have been made to stand on such a pedestal where they will have to think not just once but a number of times before becoming a part of any revolutionary movement. All this has happened in presence of Self Proclaimed Progressive and Feminist Leaders including the communist leader Yogendra Yadav who choose to stay mute despite having knowledge of the incident.
The incidents that happened one after another are horrifying. A young, dynamic and enthusiastic 25-year-old woman who went there for a cause to fight for people’s right but unfortunately fell prey to so-called Farmer leaders of Kisan Social Army, lost her modesty, became a victim of gang rape that too various times and ultimately lost her life under mysterious circumstances. Women there on the protest site knew about her hardships but these could not be resolved. It was only his father who came down to the site and registered a case with the police, and even he was pressurised to say that his daughter died due to Covid. These all attempts hint at the support these rapists are drawing from the prominent leaders of the protests.
It is beyond our imagination what all she went through before reaching Tikri, at Tikri and even after leaving the Tikri border. Being a woman, hearing her story threatens my soul. This incident has put up a question mark on the safety of hundreds of women present at the site. This one incident managed to get unearthed, who knows how many heinous incidents would have went un-noticed there in past 6 months.
The intentions of people like Yogendra Yadav and other men and women who are leading this huge protest is also questionable. The silence of self-claimed Progressive and Feminist Leaders on this issue speaks the volume about their outlook towards women activists. They knew about what all she was going through but chose to remain silent. Had they raised voice against it, a precious, innocent life could be saved. This also forces one to think that what actually made them to remain silent? What was it that was more important to them than the dignity of a woman?
The most worrisome part of this horrific tale is the fact that the victim’s father said that he was pressurised to say that she died due to Covid. This simply raises the question that did she really died due to Covid? Deterioration of her health soon after a few people on the site came to know about her sufferings, is it really a coincidence? A lot of questions are yet unanswered, which will hopefully be answered in future and unearth the filthy mindsets of the Self- Proclaimed Farmer Leaders. But the damage which this incident has done to the consciousness of a number of women who wished to do something for their nation, for their people can never be repaired.
The author is Final Year Student of 3 year Law programm at Panjab University, Chandigarh. As Student activist she works and writes on Women Issues, Educational Issues. She played key role in Girls Self Defence Program – MISSION SAHASI in Chandigarh.