Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son Vikas Barala and one more person accompanying him have been charged for allegedly stalking the daughter of a senior IAS officer of the state.
The incident, reportedly, took place during the late hours of Friday night. The victim, the daughter of a senior IAS officer, was driving home from sector-8 market in Chandigarh at around 12:15 a.m. She realized that a car was following her. The white SUV that was following her allegedly had Vikas Barala and another person named Ashish.
The two boys, reportedly, pulled their car up close to her several times and even tried to block her way twice. During the whole incident, there came a time when they stopped their car in front of the girl’s car, perhaps in order to force her out of the vehicle.
She promptly reversed, drove as fast as she could and simultaneously called the Police Control Room. She gave all the details to the police who took a quick action and intercepted the car at the border of Chandigarh and Haryana.
The girl has shared the entire incident in a Facebook post, the text of which is being reproduced here:
WAS ALMOST KIDNAPPED ON A CHANDIGARH ROAD LAST NIGHT.
That being said, I’d like to take a moment to commend and thank Chandigarh Police for unparalleled efficiency and attention to a distress call from me. They almost restore my faith in the system.
Here’s what went down;
I was driving home from the sector-8 market at about 12:15am, and crossed the road into sec-7, where the petrol pump is.
I was also on the phone with a friend at the time, and realised about a minute later that a car was following me.
It was a White SUV, and as I noticed it, it pulled up and started driving alongside my car. I was now in sec-7, heading towards the lights next to St.Johns’ in 26.
There were 2 guys inside the SUV, and they seemed to really be enjoying harassing a lone girl in the middle of the night, judging by how often their car swerved,
just enough to scare me that it might hit me.
By now I was totally alert and mildly panic-y, so I decided to turn right from the St.Johns’ traffic lights towards Madhya Marg(a more crowded, seemingly safer road).
I tried to turn right from the lights but the SUV blocked my way, forcing me to go straight into sec-26.
At the next turn, I tried to turn again, but this time they went a step further;
Right at the turn, they blocked the road in front of my car, and the guy in the passenger seat got out of the car and started walking towards me. I reversed as fast as I could and went straight and took the next right turn before they could catch up again.
I used this time to also call the cops at 100, and explain to them the situation and my exact location and where I was headed. The cop who answered my call, intuitively sensed the urgency in my voice, and promised me that help would be along very soon.
I hung up and had now reached the main road, and hadn’t seen the SUV for about 15 seconds, so I hoped, that they’d seen me calling the cops and disappeared. I was wrong.
I was now on a straight road for about 5-6kms (Madhya Marg), and that entire time, the SUV stayed alongside my car, trying to bully me into stopping every 10-15 seconds LITERALLY.
I was in a full-blown panic attack by now because they would keep trying to corner me, and I’d somehow manoeuvre my way out and keep moving.
My hands shaking, my back spasming from fear, half in tears, half bewildered, because I didn’t know if I’d make it home tonight.
Who knew when, or if, the cops would show up.
These guys INCESSANTLY bullied me all the way to Solitaire(end of 6kms), and at the traffic lights, blocked my car for the final time.
This time they meant business, because they left me absolutely no space to move or escape, and the passenger JUMPED out of the car and moved towards mine.
I don’t know how, but I reversed my car and moved to the right where there was space, all this while constantly honking so the few vehicles around would know something was wrong.
At this point, the guy had reached my car, banged loudly on my window, AND TRIED TO OPEN THE DOOR HANDLE!
Just as he did this, I saw a PCR pull up at the lights, quite possibly in response to my call. They heard me honking, and saw the SUV swerving left and right in an attempt to block me, and a couple of cops ran out towards the SUV, nabbing it just in time, because they were blocked in by traffic.
If this is what women deal with in one of the safer cities in the country, where are we going?
I find it shocking, that in a place with cameras at every light and cops every 200 metres, these boys thought they could either get into my car, or take me into theirs, just because they’re from an influential background.
I’m lucky, it seems, to not be the daughter of a common man, because what chance would they have against such VIPs?
I’m also lucky, because I’m not lying raped and murdered in a ditch somewhere.
If this can happen in Chd, it can happen anywhere.
LADIES! Please be proactive about your own safety;
NOTE THE NUMBER OF ANY VEHICLE THAT TRIES TO HARASS YOU.
DON’T BE AFRAID to call the cops, The minute it starts!
Call your parents, if possible, and let them know where you are and the situation you’re in.
Try and run away, in the safest way possible.
YOUR LIFE IS PARAMOUNT! If he walks towards you, use whatever you can as a weapon.
I was never a big fan of weapons, till last night.
Whether it’s a gun or mace or taser or a golf club or a knife,
it’s going to make you feel safer and more confident.
STAY SAFE, LADIES!
In her post, she has emphasized on the state of women’s safety and their need to be proactive about it. Her father also took the matter to Facebook in an elaborate post bringing the entire episode to light, and appreciating Chandigarh Police for the role they played.
They tried to block her car at the traffic signal, but she showed presence of mind and sped away. They chased her and blocked her way time and again. She again maneuvered away. She called the police while driving and informed them. The goons continued to chase her and attempting to block her for a few kilometers. She sped thru all red lights, but had to stop at a signal as there were cars stopped there. She swerved thru the traffic and the stalkers followed her brazenly. One of the goons jumped put and tried to enter her car. She somehow maneuvered an escape while honking continuously. police guys from a PCR ran to apprehend the goons. They called us, and we went to the police station in sector 26. The filing of the complaint and their medical examination etc took four hours. But the FIR was finally lodged and the goons arrested.
We are thankful that she survived this ordeal. The goons had a very clear intention of abducting her, and she escaped due to her courage and presence of mind, but it was a very close call, and her trauma is unimaginable. I suppose it will take her a long time to go back to a normal life.
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As a father of two daughters, I feel compelled to take this matter to its logical conclusion. The goons must be punished, and the law must take its course. As would be expected, the goons are from influential families. We all know most such cases of harassment go unpunished and even unreported. Most people would not want or dare to take on goons from influential families. I feel if people with some privileges like us cannot stand up to such criminals, nobody in India can. More importantly, I will be failing in my duty as a father to my daughter if I did not stand with her completely in this matter.
Our clear intention is to bring the culprits to book. We do not intend to harm the families or relatives. However, we know it’s not going to be an easy struggle. The possibility of harassment and witch-hunting, threats and even physical harm is undeniable, even though unlikely. Influential families can sometimes take desperate measures to discredit or disable the complainants. Sane friends may advise us against our course of action. We may be foolhardy.
The police arrested Vikas Barala and Ashish, and booked them under section 354 D (for stalking a woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Later, Section 341 of IPC for wrongful restraint was added to the charges against the accused. It is reported that the accused were drunk at the time of arrest.
The girl is a popular disco jockey from the city, whereas Vikas Barala and Ashish are students of law.
According to report by Times Now, there was a constant pressure from the Haryana and the Central Government on Chandigarh Police to dilute the case against Subhash Barala’s son and his friend. In fact, the two have even been released on a bail as charges against them are bailable. But NDTV quotes senior Chandigarh police officer Satish Kumar saying that there was no political pressure on Chandigarh Police.
Satish Kumar said:
When we received the original copy of the girl’s statement, we found that there was no mention that any attempt was made to abduct her… Therefore, we did not find possibility of adding these sections.
However, opposition has sought Subhash Barala’s resignation in wake of the incident.
The Indian Express quotes Haryana Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Kiran Choudhry saying:
The BJP leaders, who gave slogan of Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, are busy preaching others. It would have been better if they would have preached their president Barala on this.
The BJP, reportedly, has ruled out the possibility of Barala’s resignation and has termed the matter as “personal”. It has also been asserted by a BJP member that the case does not directly involve Subhash Barala and that law will take its own course in the matter.