This incident in Jaipur is heartbreaking and disturbing on another level.
While people contemplate the safety of women in India and point the appropriate pros and cons, we still witness rape incidents on an almost daily basis. Maybe having stringent laws might be one solution, but we really need to work towards the mentality, because that’s the real cause.
While we sit and ponder over the gravity of the situation, here’s an incident that will make you wonder: Where can a woman be safe?
Anjali Khandelwal is a resident of Bhilwara and was staying over at a hotel in Jaipur with her husband. She was there to get her son treated, but little did she know the harrowing ordeal that awaited her.
Here’s her story and a blow-by-blow account of the incident:
“I am a resident of Bhilwara.
On 12th of August, my husband and I came to Jaipur for my son’s treatment. My husband dropped me at a hotel near Gopalpura Bypass and headed to Delhi to receive our son who studies in a boarding school in Shimla.
My brother had booked the hotel through Go-Ibibo (which stated it was a 4-star property) in the name of my husband.
Closer to the hotel was my chacha’s place, so, shortly after checking-in, I went to his house. At around 11:15 in the night, my cousin dropped me back to the hotel.
I went to my room, and about 15 minutes later, there was a loud knock at the door. When I called out for who it was, an over drunk voice answered back, “Humein *her brother’s name* ne bheja hai aapke pas kuch kaam se.”
I stood by the door and saw three unknown drunken boys through the peephole.
Needless to say, I panicked.
The first thought that came in my mind was to call my chacha and seek help. And so I did. I told him I was in trouble and that he must come running to the hotel.
Next, clueless what to do, I called my husband and narrated the entire situation. He called at the hotel’s reception and asked them to send someone to my room for help, but nobody came for the next 15 minutes. I was all alone. The three boys constantly kept knocking and forcing me to open the door.
I tried to deal with the situation somehow by telling them that I am coming and opening the door soon. Meanwhile, praying for my chacha to arrive. I was so frightened that I even went and opened the window of the room. In case the boys tried to forcefully enter the room, I would have had no option but to leap out the window.
Approximately 20 minutes later, my chacha arrived and while coming up to my room, he saw the hotel’s bell boy chatting with those three boys, which clearly indicated that the bell boy knew them.
Seeing my chacha, the three boys went and hid in the elevator. Chacha called out to me and I opened the door. Both of us chased them, and I slapped one of the boys. Meanwhile, we saw the bell boy hinting those drunken boys to run through the stairs.
Chacha was holding one of the boys’ shirts and that guy pushed chacha on the stairs. His back and head got severely injured. In the mean time, the boys ran away, and the hotel manager, the receptionist, the bell boys, and the guard simply stood there and watched. Nobody came forward to help.
We called the police who arrived after some 15-20 minutes. They inquired but their attitude was extremely casual.
I wasn’t the only one who went through this situation. It was then that I found out that a similar incident had happened in the hotel in the day time with two Delhi-based girls. These girls came up to me and offered support.
I demanded the CCTV footage but somehow the hoteliers had managed to tamper with it. My chacha needed to be taken to the hospital, but he didn’t want to leave me alone. So, I called my jijaji who came along with his cousin. Luckily, this cousin was good on the technical front and managed to retrieve the CCTV recording.
The footage showed the guard winking at those drunken boys who were then present in the parking area when I had entered the hotel. Similarly, clear communication of those boys with the receptionist and bell boys could be seen.
It became crystal clear that this was a planned harassment case by the management of the hotel along with those three boys who seemed to come from very sound financial background as they were carrying iPhone 6 and wore gold chains. Even when outside my room, the boys were very relaxed and at ease.
Were they not afraid? Of being caught? Of facing punishment?
I don’t think so. It seemed as if they had done this before. It seemed as if they were sure of getting out of the situation cleanly.
We yelled and demanded the owner be called. But in spite of the presence of police in the hotel, the owner did not turn up. He sent someone else in his place who didn’t know a thing about hotel management. This person did not even bother to ask the staff or the employees as to what was going on. It seemed like he already knew about the illegal activities that were happening in the hotel.
We then lodged a FIR against the hotel and its management but surprisingly enough, even the police did not handle the case with seriousness. Later, we found out that the owner of the hotel has very close relations in the Rajasthan police circle.
Many of the officials told me to drop the case because nothing would happen, given the hotel owner’s influential position.
The owner turned out to be my chacha’s friend’s tauji. Seeing that I was not ready to give up,and that I was taking the case to the Home Minister, chacha’s friend tried talking him into settling the case saying that, “ladki bhi ache ghar ki hai aur vo ladke bhi. Ladki se tarah tarah ke sawaal puche jayenge. Kyun dono ki badnaami kara rahe ho? Yahin khatam kar do baat ko.”
My chacha refused any attempt at letting this go. Rather, he helped me seek justice. We approached the head of Mahila Aayog, Mrs. Suman Sharma, who very well co-operated with us and requested the D.C.P. South to look into the matter seriously and to take immediate action.
It has been ten days since the incident. I have put in my best approaches and efforts to put the criminals behind the bars but everything seems waste due to so many efforts being made from the other side to suppress and delay the case. I am still under a deep trauma because of what I faced that night in the hotel.
I was lucky enough to get out of the situation safely. But it scares me to think that there are so many women in the country who go through such incidents and never raise a voice.
I was lucky that I had relatives close by who came and rescued me. But what about the girls who live by themselves?
What’s worse is the fact that in such situations even the police officials are not extending support. This case could have been resolved the very same day but due to the negligence of police, it couldn’t. They could have acted strictly that very night and gotten the hotel staff including that bell boy to speak the truth. But they didn’t. Rather, they keep on telling me with a much laid back attitude that they are enquiring.
With so much gap and time, it wouldn’t be a surprise if those boys or the management itself may have bribed the bellboy to keep his mouth shut. The CCTV evidence is clear in front of them, yet there is no justice.
My purpose if to fight, not just for my justice, but also for all the women who go through such things. That feeling of helplessness and fear is terrible! I wouldn’t want any girl to feel so. At least not when and where her safety is concerned.
Well, as Anjali points out the loopholes in our system, we just wonder how audacious it must have been for hotel boys to go inside the room and knock at someone’s door.
Will justice be brought to the table?