In disgust at the system we have, an IAS officer of Chhattisgarh cadre Riju Bafna posted on her Facebook a startling curse on the country that read:”I can only pray that no woman is born in this country.”
A startled Facebook fans soon made it go viral shaking the roots of the criminal justice system that has been accused of treating women indecently in sexual abuse crimes. Soon, she retracted her message saying “I wrote that line in the spur of moment and I regret blaming the country for the fault of individuals. Indeed, I had edited the FB post later”, Riju Bafna said later. But the message is out, loud and clear.
The outrage expressed by an IAS officer speaks volumes about how ordinary people are at the mercy of the system even to survive in the country, forget about getting justice. The incident occurred when Riju Bafna appeared before the court of a judicial magistrate on August 1 to record her statement in an FIR against Santosh Chaubey, Ayogya Mitra of MP Human Rights Commission in Seoni district.
“Santosh Chaubey was harassing me by sending indecent messages. I reported that to Bharat Yadav, Collector & DM, Seoni. He immediately wrote about this harassment to MPHRC and Santosh Chaubey was vacated from official responsibilities with immediate effect”, she said.
“As a young woman facing the Court for the first time in a sensitive matter of sexual harassment, I realized why women do not want to come out in the open and report sexual harassment cases. The entire experience was horrible and traumatic”, the IAS officer said in her post. “Idiots are lined up at every step”, she warned.
When she reached Court and sought the Judicial Magistrate to allow her record the statement in-camera (not public), she said a lawyer had sprung up from nowhere and began to abuse her in front of the magistrate who was silent throughout. “He started using very rude language and said that I might be an IAS officer in my office but this was his Court and he was not leaving,” Bafna said.
Here is a full text of what she wrote about the incident:
Officer Trainee at Indian Administrative Service at Government of India.
Edited Version of her Facebook Post:
“Hi everyone. I am posting this message to share my experience with judiciary on a sexual harassment case filed by me.
Santosh Chaubey, Aayogmitra of MP Human Rights Commission was sending me indecent messages last week. I had filed an FIR against him and criminal action is being pursued against him. He was immediately removed from his job, thanks to the swift action by my Collector, Shri Bharat Yadav.
Today, I went to give my statement to the Judicial Magistrate. While I was giving my statement, an advocate named Lalit Sharma was standing next, overhearing my statement, along with others in the court. I asked the judicial magistrate to ask others to leave as I was uncomfortable giving my statement in front of so many people. On saying this, Lalit Sharma started shouting at me, saying “how dare you suggest me to leave, I am an advocate here and you might be an officer in your office but not in the Court”. I told him that the privacy I am demanding is not as an IAS officer but as a woman and laws provide me with that. He started arguing and eventually left.
Such is the state of affairs for women in this country. When I said to Judicial Magistrate that he should be careful of presence of other people when a woman is giving statement under sexual harassment case, he said that you are young and that’s why demanding such things.
Idiots are lined up at every step and people are highly insensitive towards our sufferings. If you are born in this country, better prepare yourself for struggle at every step.”
However, it is surprising that being an IAS officer, Riji Bafna has deviated from her protocol to post the incident on Facebook, forgetting the fact that there are numerous instances where women face such ordeals from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. Here are five steps she should have taken to ensure that women are safe in her own place of posting.
— Forcing the police to register cases against sexual harassment.
— Sending women cops in disguise in city buses and arrest eve-teasers.
— Joining NGOs to sensitize men and women on harassment cases.
— Focus on her future career and make better use of her position to help other women.
— Since “idiots are lined up at every step”, Bafna should focus on education to begin with.