Chandigarh, In the aftermath of Varnika Kundu’s stalking by Haryana state BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son, scores of women here took out a protest march late in the night to drive home the message they were “free to move around at any time”. Starting at 11 p.m. on Friday from the Chandigarh Rose Garden in Sector 16, the march passed through the markets of Sector 10 and 11 – well known as the ‘Geri Route’ (where youth make rounds on their vehicles).
Taking out the ‘Bekhauf Azadi March’ (freedom without fear march), the young and old said they were reclaiming the streets from “stalkers and elitist goons here”. The protesters held candles, posters and placards to highlight the harassment, lewd gestures and comments and even instances of molestation that women and girls face at the hands of men on the city streets here.
“We have taken to the streets to give a message to everyone that women are free to move around at any time and cannot be forced to face harassment from men,” activist Amy Singh said. The protest was organised exactly a week after Kundu, 29, a disc jockey and daughter of senior Haryana-cadre IAS officer V.S. Kundu, was chased and harassed by Vikas Barala, 23, and his friend Ashish Kumar, 27.
The chase, by the accused on their SUV, and stalking took place past midnight of August 4. Both accused were arrested on August 5. They were first booked by the Chandigarh Police for stalking and drunken driving. Both were soon out on bail.
However, following media pressure, the police later arrested them again after charging them with non-bailable sections of attempt to abduction (section 365 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code). The accused were sent to two-day police custody by a court here on Friday. They will be produced in the court again on Saturday.