Nineteen years after he was accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl, former DGP of Haryana SPS Rathore has been convicted and sentenced to all of six months in jail. And he also got bail right away. Those who fought for the victim now want the case reopened and have sought public support.
In 1990, Rathore, who was then an Inspector General molested teenager Ruchika Girhotra. She was a promising young tennis player and he was head of Haryana's lawn tennis federation at the time. (Read and Watch: Senior cop molested teen who killed herself)
Ruchika's family filed a case against the top cop and say they faced constant harrassment by the police thereafter. Two weeks after an inquiry indicted Rathore, Ruchika was expelled from school for 'indiscipline'. Three years later, her brother was arrested for multiple cases of theft. Ruchika killed herself by drinking poison in 1993. She was 17. Immediately after her death, the cases against her brother were dropped. And the Girhotras left Chandigarh.
Aradhana Prakash, Ruchika's friend and tennis partner and also a witness to the molestation, fought on. She helped to fight for - and win - a CBI inquiry against Rathore in 2000. It was a hollow victory - the charges against Rathore were of molestation; Ruchika's friends and family wanted him to be accused of abetment to suicide amounting to murder.
Aradhana is angry at Monday's verdict and vows to do more battle. "We are disappointed...we expected more...six months will not serve the purpose," she says, adding that the battle for justice that she and her parents have waged over almost two decades has been a tough one. She accuses Rathore of instigating false cases against her family and her. (Watch: Justice for Ruchika: Friends seek public support)
Aradhana's parents, Anand and Madhu Prakash, say they now want people to rally behind them and work to re-open the case as it was done in the Priyadarshani Mattoo and Jessica Lal cases. "The punishment was too little and too late," they say, noting with some satisfaction that the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
It was CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat who brought up Ruchika's case in the Rajya Sabha today. She slammed the system saying, "The Ruchika case reveals deep infirmaties of delivery of justuice in our system. The sickness in our system. The crriminal policeman has been promoted while the brother of the victim had fake cases registered against him...How long will such a system prevail. I appeal to the Home Minister and Law Minister to reform our fast-track justice system for victims of sexual assault...and have a reward for witnesses."
Will Ruchika get real justice? There is a sense of outrage as livid surfers write in at NDTV.com questioning the quantum of punishment for a crime so reprehensible. (Read surfer comments)