On Murthal

by Meha Khanduri

This article nearly never got written because as I start to write on the issue I start seeing red. When India was raptly watching students of a prestigious university go through a long drama of whether slogan shouting students had committed sedition or not…rampaging mobs were burning, looting, and ransacking the cities of Haryana, right next door to the capital Delhi. Nobody was really outraged, no resignations were called for, no charges of sedition were made and after nearly two days of looting and burning worth 34000 crores, the government cordially accepted the demands of the rampaging mobs and the burning and looting came to an end.  An amicable solution all around..except for criminality and couple of thousand crores of national property but …..this is India!

Four days later some ghost stories started floating around. The whispers said that not only Haryana’s cities had been burnt and ransacked; women commuters had been raped too on the highways. The police however assured us that these were all rumors being spread by nasty people. However they refused to die. Soon a newspaper, The Tribune, did a story on how women travellers coming to Delhi were dragged out of their cars by mobs on a National Highway 1 at Murthal in Sonepat district of Haryana and gang raped by mobs. That the paper reported this happened only about 2 hours from Delhi, near a very popular eating spot, made it more shocking. But the Haryana government and the police breezily denied these, ignoring that the newspaper was an established one, and not given to salacious stories.

Well, the newspaper stuck to its guns quoting eyewitnesses. Initially three eyewitnesses—Hari Krishan of Kurad, Zile Singh of Hassanpur and Amrik Singh—came forward, saying women were sexually assaulted. Eyewitness Niranjan Singh told The Sunday Standard: “I saw these men chasing women in the fields, and assaulting and tearing off their clothes.’’ The Tribune report also mentioned the raped women were met by the police and instead of being taken to a hospital for examination, they were advised paternally by the policemen and the district administration to not file a complaint and go home. The police even dropped many home solicitously, instead of taking them to a hospital or filing an FIR.

In the fields where nothing had happened, torn bras, panties and various undergarments of women were found strewn about. The police collected them and sent them for forensic examination. But nobody was still outraged –perhaps the women themselves were struck by a sudden urge to become nude while travelling through. No minister thought it worth his or her while to comment on such trivial issues. But the courts for once woke up, took suo moto cognizance of the report and ordered an inquiry. That gave some faint hope to the horrified citizens following the story.

In response to the court inquiry, the local Police issued casual notices saying if women had been gang raped could they please come up and contact the police? No mention was made of the policemen who were supposed to have pressed the women not to press charges. No effort was made to find out the cars, which had passed through the tollgates. No Indian woman was surprised when not a single woman came to volunteer about her gang rape. To add insult to injury the number of the lady DIG given to contact was wrong and belonged to a resident of Indore. The New Indian Express, a reputed newspaper quoted a senior police official as saying that: “there is too much political pressure to play down the incident.”

But the unkindest cut for the women of India was saved for the last. As the Parliament met for the budget session there was hope that all the national representatives at the highest level would be outraged by this incident. The opposition would clamor and the government would be forced to take stern measures against the criminals and those shielding the,. The opposition did outrage, the government especially a woman minister did indulge in splendid melodramatics but not for the women of India. For two days the Indian Parliament was in furore over demon worship and the honor of the mythical goddess Durga.


I can’t think of any civilized country in which such a thing would happen. At that point I realized a very important thing:  This is what the worth of a woman in India. NOTHING. Don’t get fooled by the glitzy ads showing beautifully groomed career women who are also empowered at home. Don’t be fooled by the number of women in the Parliament or careers. Don’t be fooled by the tall promises made after the Nirbhaya rape. All women are in India are pieces of property, meant to protect the honor of the man, the family, the country. To expect respect as a normal human being, as an equal citizen deserving equal rights is futile. I’ve given up. Just hope that you can be a goddess someday, from the flesh and blood human you are.

PS: Till the time of this article going for publication two victims have come forwarded and narrated their ordeal of being gang-raped along with many other women. They are mothers and wives and young women and teenagers. They say that they ” were advised by the officials there not to report the matter for the sake of honour, because what has happened could not be undone,”  and are terrified of going to a police which wants to bury the incident. However the eyewitnesses have now turned hostile. News of the Murthal rapes has completely vanished from the national media. All is well in India.


[Pic Credit: ABP News] 

Meha Khanduri is an alum from Columbia University, New York and works on issues of human rights and conflict in India. 

91 Comments Add yours

  1. What else can you expect? With sex ratios screwed ,the ,Hindi movies double speak of Durga and virginity on one hand and half naked women thrusting their bodies in your face,with absolute ridiculous so called traditions dinned into your ears ” what else can we expect?.They are protected by law makers who have to protect their jobs.
    We dare not accept these and educate these uneducated B when they were in school.Now that a lot of tongue clicking and ha and hooo has been made,lets get back to our mundane lives and wait for the next horror story ,probably in another minute?


  2. Ash says:

    This is India shining..Make in India.. Beti bachao..For what???To fulfill the lust of a MAN.. The system is corrupt but sadly we too are a part of this system..Media can work wo sets if they want to..


  3. sitanaik says:

    Similar sentiments by Mrinal Pande in today’s Indian Express



  4. Shikha Jain says:

    Is this India?? The country for which we were used to take pledge from the childhood – “India is my country, All boys and girls are my brothers and Sisters”. The jats who did all this shit, were they not taught about it? They raped women on the name of their agitation for reservation, is this seems fine to Indians and India government? I feel ashamed being an Indian where people are “Illiterate even after being educated”. Being a girl, this is not acceptable to me that for getting a right from government, you are rapping a girl, who is not even a part of this, who is not responsible for not giving the reservation. And I Hate those politicians who are ordering and supporting such acts, just to play some “cheap politics”.
    And even after showing such illiteracy, if these Illiterate will get the reservation, what will be the future of India?? If they are getting reservation, then expect such acts in India every year or every month, either by them or some other communities to get some other right from govt.


  5. pankaj says:

    we can react in a very subtle manner but there are two sides. One saying its truth another its false.


  6. Juliet Maya says:

    Absolutely discouraged, disappointed , disgusted at the treatment of
    women in India . Unless Indian women organise and fight against a
    society that doesn’t value its women citizens , India will not change .
    Women of India , rise up ,demand respect , demand justice, fight
    for equal rights, refuse to give dowry, get educated , empowered ,
    support other women in their struggle to be free from the restrictions
    imposed on you by a culture that only values its men . India needs
    a feminist movement , a feminist revolution , to come to its senses !
    An Indian woman now living abroad


  7. Amit shokeen says:

    U guys believe that what happened I must say not happened that was all fake news n only thing that it was just a news.beleive in practical things n the woman u r taking about she is just a greedy women n asking for money.Nothing has proved hoga kaise kuch huwa nahi.


  8. Reblogged this on sironzkarworld and commented:
    Sad state 😦


  9. Monk says:

    I hang my head in shame. This shows the rut not only in the system but in every dimension of social fabric.

    A country that does not respect its women and children has no future and is doomed to extinction.

    It has become fashionable to say Bharat Mata Ki Jai ….. but see the karmas that we as a nation follow when it comes to women.


  10. pameladev says:

    the assholes got what they wanted. we have such a pathetic system. who bloddy cares about the modesty of women.. the government has done nothing about it.. alll they can do is loot us of our hard earned money in term of taxes. why wouldnt the remaining of educated indians wanna go abroad and settle where atleast people are heard. women respecteed. doing shit in the name of caste system .. When will india rise above these sick shambles!!!
    is the government listening???? HEllo.. any body here.. or r u just happy grabbing the 30% taxes and fighting in parliament like dogs.. disgrace!!!!


  11. Rita says:

    All jats should be denied any reservation and all govt jobs be closed for the jats for next 20 years


  12. It was really shameful. Even a high-powered women’s team did nothing in the matter and virtually absolved the criminals. The victims chose to stay mum. A
    great shame indeed.


  13. anu says:

    first analyse before writing mam. and mind your language.first of all govt didnt accepted the demands of rampaging mob. a mob has no face, no caste no community. the stir was started by jats , a respectable community and hardworking mostly farmers. conditions of farmers in india is not hidden from anyone. do a little homework for this. the of stir was non violent but was made violent by the tactics of the ruling govt to ensure vote bank of non jats community. all kinds and people from all castes were on streets to loot and burn . the jat community is already bearing the blame for everything as they themselves were not prepared that the things will be given such a bad and communal twist. the jats are not so tech savy and educated to counter all this bad things spread in the name of their caste. the sabotaged the stir badly against the jats. the news of actually what happened at Rohtak and how violence started , has nowhere been shared and shown. as far as murthal rapes are concerned from day one Army and police is claiming no rapes took place. the witnesses have refused this too. there are coming different versions from day one. one version claim that these types of clothes are found in this area earlier also as the girls from nearby girls hostel sometimes discard old clothes in garbage. now the news is coming police may be involved. one version was that it was all because a domestic dispute. as the women who reported this as victims had some domestic dispute with the culprits named. in this era of fast news fast inetrnet world opinion making is simplest thing . but beware. analyse before sharing. even army claimed that no rapes took place during this stir anywhere in haryana. it looks more of a propaganda to malign the image of a particular caste.


    1. Pallavi says:

      How can you say women were not raped? I know a family from UK who went to India and their daughters were raped and left in the fields. My brother-in-law’s car was smashed and several cars were burnt. He was hiding in the fields all night to save his life. Who is responsible for that? Knowing our political and social environment, how do you expect ladies to step out and claim they were assaulted? Don’t make such high claims if you don’t know the fact. Don’t get fooled by the media and your so called “society”. Like you’re advising the author, you also do your homework first and then post something on social media.


      1. @Pallavi people like you or the people in your comment are equally to blame!
        Knowing our political and social environment whatever change has come has come from ladies who have stepped out and claimed they were assaulted without fear. if so many people are commenting and talking about these incidents, it means they will stand for victims. High Court, NHRC, NCW are helping people who want to come forward, if you still think you have a moral high ground by narrating incidents and doing nothing you are part of the problem not the solution.


      2. Ankur says:

        So u are saying that people from UK Did not file the case they also don’t want to protect and get justice for their girls claps 👏👏 for you miss
        Knowing about our political and social environment I want to tell you that lots of rape cases are reported in India
        I agree that cars were smashed and burnt
        If you are fearless enough to spread rumours on social media and defame a particular community I think you have some energy left to come forward and file the case
        Apart from all this I want to tell you that crime was committed by criminals not by a community (if anything like this happened which I don’t believe)


  14. Vinod says:

    What happened to these women is definitely horrendous and inhumane to say the least and something that should never go unpunished. But to add to your point, its not just the women… everyone in this country man or woman is treated like trash unless they have insane amount of money, political power or a mob behind them. The situation in this country is so volatile that anything could happen to anyone anytime…


  15. geoffnmonika says:

    Matter of great shame to us Indians to see women treated like this..


  16. Mizan says:

    Agreed that the rotting political scenario of the country dictates which issues to focus on and which ones to ignore, but this doesn’t imply that ALL is wrong with our country. I have seen incidents which show the human nature in its best possible form. Lets stay positive and join hands to change the dynamics of this Nation. Jai Hind.


  17. rittam says:

    Hey Anu– wake up! perhaps u shud see more TV– 2 diff TV {one was SAB if I remeber channels carried LIVE interviews with 3-4 different men who were also in cars at the time the women got raped. After the first time these were aired– one never heard of them! that is ur
    wonderful govt for u .


  18. Ranga says:

    Movies are the first culprit followed bh lackbif discipline at home. Rest all after that.fix the funda.


  19. sanjukta says:

    You know what…woman need to do something which will send shivers down thier backs…’bobbit’ them. I know it sounds an extreme reaction….but extreme steps need to be taken for extreme crimes which our protectors overlook. I would happily join a band of women who would take on this task!


  20. KAVURI L R SIMHA says:

    The last Paragraph (before P.S) was wrong.. It was in Haryana where sex ratio is screwed 1000/770+ it does not apply to whole India which is so different in social thought and behavior for every 500 km radius..


  21. ds rataul says:

    very eye opening piece and from this episode, though I am an optimist, I feel India still continue living in middle ages and it will never be civilized till it starts respecting it women and no politician is ready to take about making India civilized


  22. R says:

    There is no curse bigger than being a woman…be it India or Planet Earth…


  23. Bikram Singh says:

    Their fathers and uncles had committed similar crimes in1984 but they were pardoned for having taught a lesson to S
    Sikhs so the beasts have repeated the act .Will they reach to gallows this time ? .


  24. Pranav Sharma says:

    This is the dat and stylish stays of affairs in India, aversion people debate on stupidity and non existing issues but no action is taken on real concerns


  25. Richa says:

    Whom to blame the public the media or the ministers, do we forget what are our responsibility to be strong and speak up. No one can help us unless we help ourself. No one but the lady herself is to be blamed why fear honour is not something that gets tarnished because you were raped . something bad happened we just need to forgive ourself don’t be hard on yourself. Stand up and punish those wrong doers they deserve the punishment.


  26. dr priya kapoor says:

    Each time a woman keeps quiet about such things the chances of the next one multiples. Its time we make sure that a physical assault does not leadto a mental one too.spread this till the culprits are punished


  27. Reblogged this on Parwatisingari's Weblog and commented:
    Reblogged this, it makes me angry, and I am guilty of this too, we want to keep up pretenses, why did the women keep quite? We are as much citizens and some woman is responsible for the birth and bringing up of the monsters who raped these women, Why don’t we a nation question, interrogate the elected member of our constitution for not delivering, why is that we do not have a janta ki adalat in our constitution asking the elected representiative why did he allow the wastage of our time and resources. He after all represents us at the parliament. The answer is we don’t want responsibility, we don’t know how to tackle it, we are happy in our apathy.


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