My faith in the system has been restored: Varnika

first_imgVarnika Kundu of Chandigarh shot into the limelight after she resisted midnight stalking and alleged abduction attempt by Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and his friend last week. She tells The Hindu in an interview that the probe in the case is going in the right direction. Excerpts:During the probe when reports emerged that footages from closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed by the administration were unavailable, did you feel the police was working under pressure?Honestly, I wasn’t paying too much of attention to the reports. I was trusting the authorities to do their job. For a moment though, my faith was shaken a little bit. My family and I were a little sceptical. But now I think the investigation is on track and heading in the right direction. My faith in the system has been restored once again.Attempts are being made on the social media to shame you by questioning why you were out late in the night. How do you react to that?Those involved in “shaming” haven’t stopped yet, but I am not worried. Why should I be questioned? I was out there minding my own business. Instead, the people who are actually making it unsafe [for women] should be questioned. Since the stalking episode, I have only been focusing on the positive messages and support that I have been getting. This support has been a real source of strength. Most women who messaged me shared their own story of harassment as well. In fact, what I concluded from these messages is that this scourge is not confined to any age group. Whether the woman is young or old, the moment she steps out of her home alone, she is prone to harassment… which is something that really worries me.Your decision to narrate your ordeal on Facebook is being seen by many as a bold step. What prompted you to do that?Chandigarh is a small city where you will find a familiar face every little distance and if something like that could happen here, it can happen anywhere. I wanted my friends and people to know such things can happen to anyone. Chandigarh is considered a relatively safe city. But crime can happen anywhere and we need to be alert.Did you believe at any time that the accused could get away using his family’s influence?I knew it will be a tough fight. Not just because of who’s son he [Vikas Barala] is. Anyone will fight hard against the charges and he will do everything in his power to save himself. I was sure from day one that it will not be easy.People from several quarters have come to your support. How to you react to that?Several people from different walks of life participated in the ‘Bekhauf Aazaadi’ march in Chandigarh on Friday night to draw public attention to violence against women in the backdrop of the stalking episode. I strongly believe that it’s high time women stood up and reclaimed their public space.Most women in the country are conditioned to live in the belief that it is unsafe to go out alone or at night. It is the parents who need to understand that they should raise their children not as a boy or a girl, but as “people,” treating them both as equals. Women should be able to do every single thing that a man does without it becoming something about our character and without having to answer uncomfortable questions.What message would you like to share?It is important for women to realise their power… to stand up to patriarchy, binaries, oppression and crimes. If they stop giving such men the power to make us afraid, then eventually they will stop messing with us. If we let fear take over, then the men who think they can get away with such crimes will continue to win.last_img

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