By Jasleen Kaur:
Editor’s note: On 23rd August 2015, Jasleen Kaur posted a photo of a man on social media stating that he had made “obscene comments at her near Tilak Nagar”, and threatened her. A day later, the case took over social media, and news media reported that there was evidence and allegation that Jasleen’s account wasn’t entirely true. Here is Jasleen’s side of the story, written by her.
Four days ago, I was a normal Delhi University college goer. And suddenly, within a day, the world became upside- down for me. Applauded and saluted on Day 1 for standing up against what people would describe as an ‘everyday affair’, people eulogised me as a ‘brave heart’ for what I had done. I had clicked and posted the picture of a guy, who had abused, humiliated and threatened me of dire consequences on a busy intersection in Tilak Nagar. The picture went viral overnight. Perhaps it struck a cord with people. Perhaps it had happened to every other girl in Delhi, and perhaps everyone wanted to voice it someday, somehow.
On Day 2, the winds took a different direction. I was amidst a tornado of responses, being called names, apart from AAP’s pawn trying to hog the limelight for the forthcoming University elections, and even accused me of running away from an interview.
Hereby, I seek to clarify my position alongside various conspiracy theories that have surfaced on social media.
And The Story Goes..
Yes I told the boy- “Bhaiya red light hai (the traffic signal is red),” when he was about to go straight and cross the signal. He got offended, got off from his bike and started walking towards me saying, “Problem kya hai be tereko? (what’s your problem?)“. When I took out my phone to take his picture he said “Jo karna hai kar le. Ruk main pose deta hun, photo le (do whatever you want. Wait, I’ll pose for you, now take the photo),” and sat back on his bike posing for a picture and also said “Zada problem hai to aaja, aage Janak Puri tak chhodh aata hun (If you have any more problems I’ll drop you till Janak Puri).” When I clicked his picture and a picture of his number plate, he hurled abuses at me and told me, “Ab complaint karke dikha, fir dekh main kya karta hun tere sath (Wait and see what I’d do to you if you file a complaint).” I answered- “Ye tab pata chalega jab police ayegi tumhare ghar (You’ll find that out when the police comes to your house).” He stood there with his bike for some more time till the signal for straight on goers turned green. The road towards ‘left’ was completely clear (as is visible from the picture I shared), but he went straight over the flyover. He has been claiming that he headed towards Tilak Nagar, but the flyover he took goes across Tilak Nagar.
The witness who ‘claims’ to be, has a different narrative of the incident altogether, and his testimony seems, ostensibly, inconsistent with my claims. We, as responsible citizens, are in no position to decide the validity of his testimony, or even of his being a witness. For this, we have a judicial system and making judgements about the truth or falsity of claims is overstepping the law.
Connection With AAP
Foremost, my connection with AAP is incidental and my pictures with Arvind Kejriwal across social media are from a year ago. The particular case and the party have no connections altogether. Drawing connections is like saying ‘I was wearing a white t-shirt today and that is why the bird pooped on me.’
Further, my being a part of St. Stephen’s College prohibits me from contesting elections at the University level. Also, my picture on the traffic signal is an old picture in which I was volunteering alongside with some locals from my area.
Had it been for publicity, no girl would go through the hassle of filing a complaint with the police, going to the court for statements, visiting the police station and narrating “us din hua kya tha (what happened that day)” a hundred times. Yes, I made that effort to file a complaint that very moment.
A news channel contacted me promising me that I would not be sitting on the same panel as the accused or with any of his family members, the reason being -I was not comfortable with speaking to the same guy who abused and humiliated me on the street, which is still fresh in memory. And also, the accused had threatened me of morphing my pictures on another channel just an hour ago. It perplexes me as to how media thinks of itself as super-judge, putting the victim on the same table as the accused and asking the victim to talk it out. My aim of speaking with the media was not to debate, but to put forward my narrative of the fateful day.
As a citizen of the country, I understand that the narrative I pose is the closest narrative alongside the man I have accused. Again, we have a judicial system in our country to deliberate over and resolve cases and it becomes our duty as citizens to not be influenced by the coloured news claims of channels which walk in with their own prerogative in mind and end up giving the impression of being an alternative court of justice.
All I did was dare to tell him that he can’t. All I did was click a picture so that he doesn’t escape with what he threw at me. All I wanted to do was act fast as the man had threatened me with dire consequences if I dared to complain. For all that it is worth, all I wanted was to never see or hear of another girl go silent when abused, because we are taught that silence is the best response on the streets. After all of this, if you are abused and shamed publicly because you chose not to be silent, and if this is what happens if someone raises their voice, I doubt anyone will ever raise their voice again. Well, I will and I urge every other responsible citizen to do so, because it is not about one particular incident on 23rd of August, but about thousands happening every day.