Editor’s note: The following article describes the latest update in the story of Pooja and Arti Kumar, known as the “Rohtak sisters/girls,” hailed as national heroines after a video of the sisters fighting off a trio of men who allegedly harassed them on a bus in Rohtak in Haryana in northern India went viral. Shortly after the incident, conflicting eyewitness reports and other videos started to surface, putting into question the sisters’ actions. Indian MRA Pardha Sarthukan spoke to the Rohtak sisters, who revealed yet another twist to their story while the investigation continues.*
In a shocking revelation, the Rohtak sisters now claim that they were performing “a social experiment” to show how men in Indian society have become vulnerable. In an exclusive interview with us, the girls claimed that they had been trying this experiment at a national level for some time and had already shot earlier videos [in which they had beaten up a few other men in parks] but that these earlier videos were not successful because the girls could not figure out how to continue the experiment.
With this revelation from the Rohtak sisters, the explanation of new videos surfacing every day has become clear.
The sisters claimed that as part of their graduation research program, they had decided to take up the men’s cause and show how Indian men could be exploited by simple complaints from a woman and how idiotic the Indian media can behave in those situations. They also wanted to experiment with the reaction of the Indian government, which just fell short of posthumously rewarding Bharat Ratna [the highest civilian award of the Republic of India] to Nirbhaya [a pseudonym of the victim of a December 2012 gang rape and fatal assault on a New Delhi bus].
The sisters claimed that they knew that the Indian government would bestow Bharat Ratna on any woman if the woman could play the victim card well. One of them claimed that even though their drama was well written and well rehearsed, they were really disheartened to see that the government was only going to give them 31,000 rupees each as a reward for their bravery. They claimed that filing a false rape case on someone is a much better money-making business, whereas sexual harassment is still not lucrative in that sense.
Commenting on the sisters’ reward, India’s National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson said that “the bravehearts’ efforts are really commendable.” She added, “This shows how Indian women do care for men and how they respect men. We feel that Rs. 31,000 as compensation is very less for such bravehearts and we are recommending the government give them the Bharat Ratna Award instead.”
Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), however, continued to demand greater punishment for the girls. They are claiming that these girls have cheated the entire nation, misused the laws, taken laws into their hands, misbehaved with senior citizens, and wasted national resources, and hence they need to be dealt with strongly and punished heavily. They have also demanded that the Indian Army should recruit the men in question as they have shown real bravery in saving an old woman. Some MRAs even suggested that the men who praised these sisters’ behaviour without trying to understand both sides of the story should marry these girls and see how this empowerment feels like in their own life. Let them be proud of their wives, they said.
Mainstream Indian media, which has so far believed and projected one side of the story (as they always do), has reacted to this news as well. Non Developmental TV and the International Budhhu Network have lauded the bravery of the girls, demanded castration of the men and other male members of their families, and supported NCW’s request to reward these girls the Bharat Ratna for their bravery.
When we contacted the officers who had refused jobs to the three accused men and shared with them these new developments, the officers still refused to give the accused men jobs, saying, “Those men were cowards and they were beaten up by two women. We can’t recruit such cowards to save our nation as even some Abala Pakistani Naris can attack and capture India.”
MRAs, who have become a headache for everyone nowadays, have strongly condemned the action of refusing these men jobs by saying that this shows that we now need to recruit women like the Rohtak sisters and let them fight it out with other Pakistani soldiers. They claimed that the moment our enemies see these girls, they will die out of shame and India will always win in all battles.
Famous Indian National Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi (RaGa), who was silent for so many days, could not stop commenting on this occasion either. In an interview, Gandhi claimed that it was Congress’s women’s empowerment policies that could create bravehearts like the #RohtakGirls, and people have made a big mistake by refusing Congress the power. He has again said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has failed to recognize the true nature of these bravehearts and they should have awarded the sisters Bharat Ratna for their behaviour.
Women’s rights activist turned self-styled celebrity Sanjana Kumari welcomed the proposal of awarding Bharat Ratna, saying that she wanted the same to be given out to these girls as she wanted to see how this would look.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, created a new controversy while commenting on this incident. She said that this is a conspiracy of Maoists against her government since the incident happened in Haryana and not in West Bengal. She claimed that the women in West Bengal are also empowered to behave like this and if this happened in West Bengal in the future, her government will offer more compensation to the victims only if they are women.
Currently, our reporting team is confused about which state in India has empowered their women the most, as we are receiving many more claims from other states that they would have offered even more compensation to women victims. We need to wait for some time to see the real welfare of the state and to see how much taxpayers’ money each state can swindle in the name of women’s empowerment.
Reporting live from Jhumri Talaiya (*spoof article about a real event)