Less than a month after a woman from West Bengal was allegedly raped by two ‘farmer’ protestors at the Tikri border, another case of harassment has been reported from the farmer protest site.
A social media user named Shivani Dhillon (@shivani_sikh) said that a Punjabi volunteer was harassed by farmer protest volunteers. Taking to Twitter, Dhillon accused followers of a person named Dr Swaiman Singh, an American doctor who is one of the organisers of the protests, of harassing a woman volunteer working at his organisation, promoting vaccine amongst protestors.
Shocking news!!!— Shivani dhillon (@shivani_sikh) <a href=”https://twitter.com/shivani_sikh/status/1400816121603710990?ref_src
Molestation and rape incident reported from Tikri Border. Punjabi nursing assistant molested and raped by criminal elements in disguise as farmers. Why no one is reporting and taking note. A detailed story on the molestation & rape in this thread. Must read. pic.twitter.com/0SqULwxms1
Sharing the screenshots of an Instagram post shared by the victim, Dhillon narrated how Dr Swaiman Singh and his followers harassed the victim.
Narrating her ordeal in the post, the victim said that after watching videos of Dr Swaiman Singh’s work, she wanted to create awareness about Covid-19 and vaccinations amongst protestors sitting at Tikri Border and hence she decided to volunteer in his organization in April this year.
As she came to the Tikri border, she was given a room with women protestors from a village at the end of the corridor in the building of Pind California, a medical centre established by Dr Swaiman Singh at the Tikri protest site.
“In the first few interactions themselves, I felt uneasy with some of the male volunteers, but I brushed it off. I did not interact much with them in these two days except when absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, on the third day, the female doctors and my women roommates had to leave, and I was left alone in the room. There were women protestors still in the other room, and I asked a few of them to sleep in my room as I didn’t want to be left alone,” the woman, whose identity is yet to be known, said.
According to the victim, the followers of Dr Singh passed lewd comments on her, who insinuated that she was in a romantic/sexual relationship with another volunteer. However, when the lady protested and gave an earful to the two and tried to complain to an uncle nearby, the alleged protestors ganged up on the latter and bullied the victim.
It’s beyond imagination that in the name of protest, insulting a women’s modesty, indecent insinuation, eve teasing, slut shaming and what not is going on. 3/n pic.twitter.com/qAJhW6akuS— Shivani dhillon (@shivani_sikh) June 4, 2021
As the victim went to Dr Singh to complain about the behaviour of the two individuals, he refused to help her, saying, “this wasn’t America”, and that those volunteers had been here for 4-5 months, while she had been at the protest site for only 2-3 days.
“The next day the first thing I went to Dr Singh and told him that I needed to talk to him about something imp. We had a chat in the noon where I told him that his volunteers made me uncomfortable. To which his reaction was – I cannot take care of your safety. That he will leave me back to Singhu and will call me when the women doctors were here. That this wasn’t America etc,” the women noted her in post.
On confrontation a female volunteer said, “This is not America but India”. What exactly do they want to convey?— Shivani dhillon (@shivani_sikh) June 4, 2021
That a female modesty is so cheap in India that anyone can take that for granted. Shame on these Vultures. 6/n pic.twitter.com/ZV1WJCb2Vk
The victim further said that the during three-four days she spent at the Tikri border, she came to know that Dr Singh’s volunteers were slut-shaming her.
“They weren’t used to woman giving it back to them or listening to ‘No’, and their fragile ego had been shattered to pieces by my actions. Hence the slut-shaming. I thought it would end once I left the protest (and I shudder to think how many more women would have left coz of the rampant sexism, misogyny, and the harassment faced at the hands of these men! inclusive space much?)” the victim shared her story.
Interestingly, she also said that she had kept quiet so far because she did not want to want to affect the ‘morcha’ negatively.
Concluding her post, the woman said that if anyone did not care for morcha, it was Dr Singh and not her. The victim also said that the morcha is not affected by women who speak out the crimes of their perpetrators but by the men who do such things. “And this shame or guilt is not mine to have, but it is the harassers and their enablers who need self-introspection and stop treating us women as a dispensable part of this protest and society in general,” she said.
The horrific case of protestors sexually harassing a Punjabi volunteer comes just a month after a 25-year old women activist hailing from West Bengal was raped and blackmailed by the goons at the farmers’ protest at the Delhi-Haryana Tikri border.
Woman who died of COVID at the Tikri border protest site was raped and blackmailed
A woman protestor had reached the protest site at Tikri in mid-April, who was subjected to sexual assault on more than one occasion.
The incident had come to light after her father had filed an FIR. As per the complaint, on April 10, the woman, aged around 25 years, came to the Tikri border protest site from West Bengal with a group to join the farmers’ protest against the recently enacted agriculture laws.
The father of the victim had said that his daughter was raped by two men at the Tikri protest site. The whole story was narrated by the woman to her father over the phone as per the complaint. In his complaint, the father named six persons identified as Anil Malik, Anup Singh Chanaut, Ankur Sangwan, Kovita Arya, Jagdish Brar and Yogita Suhag, who went to West Bengal on behalf of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
The main perpetrators of the crime are alleged to be two AAP leaders who masterminded the entire incident. On April 26, the victim was admitted to a hospital in the Jhajjar district, who also showed Covid symptoms. However, the young woman succumbed to death on April 30 after contracting coronavirus.
Editors note: In an earlier version of this article, we had identified the victim as a ‘nurse’ when she was actually just a volunteer. Further, this article classified this incident as a case of molestation when it was a case of sexual harassment. We had relied on social media posts and other reports from mainstream media like CNN News 18. It should be noted that the Instagram post by the victim matched with the screenshots put up by the Twitter user, however, we didn’t use the Instagram post as our source as we tried to avoid putting out any identifiable details of the victim as mandated by the law. Some errors crept in due to this process. This report has also been updated to reflect that the victim stayed silent for a long time because she did not want to compromise the ‘sanctity of the ‘farmers protest’ and continues to support the farmers protest. The report has been updated and the error is regretted.