Help Stop the BJP MLA Who Publicly Molested Me from Contesting Rajasthan Elections 2018

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Deny Mr. Kanwarlal Meena (incumbent MLA, Manohar Thana - Akhlera, Jhalawar District, Rajasthan), my molester, a ticket to contest upcoming Legislative Assembly Elections in Rajasthan and ensure my access to a fair and equal trial.

They abused me in the most vulgar language, thrashed me with a lathi, inserting it between my  legs and forcefully moved it around aiming and hitting my private parts. They held my neck and beat me from the back. They tore my kurta and violently grabbed my breasts leaving several nail marks on them. They put their hands all over my body, indiscriminately groping me. The MLA squeezed my breasts, and started trying to break the human chain I had managed to create by holding hands with other women from my group. Angered by our strength, the MLA forcefully slapped me across my face and in that shock, my hand let go of the human chain. 

I am a Social-Cultural-Political Activist and on 16 January 2016, Mr. Kanwarlal Meena the incumbent MLA from Manohar Thana - Akhlera, Jhalawar District, publicly molested, manhandled, abused, and beat me up during a riot that he instigated to attack activists who were then conducting the Jawabdehi Yatra. It was a campaign demanding the passage of Jawabdehi Kanoon (Accountability Law) spearheaded by the SR Abhiyan - a civil society conglomerate with over 150 organisations. The campaign had due permissions from the Police as well as the highest authorities from the Rajasthan State Administration to travel across all 33 districts and hold village meetings to generate public awareness over a span of 100 days.

Roughly in the middle of the campaign, after having covered several districts already, the yatra reached the district of Jhalawar. In Akhlera, a small town close to Manohar Thana, the assembly constituency of Mr. Kanwarlal Meena, as we were winding up our evening street meeting, 35 men along with the MLA violently attacked us with lathis and other weapons. They caused a riot like situation, shut down all the shops in the market, and chased activists and civilians down the streets thrashing men, women, and children indiscriminately.

I along with several of my women colleagues and young students from reputed institutions, who were at that time interning with us, were publicly molested, manhandled, groped and beaten black and blue.

We immediately filed a complaint with the local police and have escalated the case to the attention of the highest Political, Administrative, and Executive bodies in the State of Rajasthan. All of us aggrieved women were treated with extreme insensitivity by the Police, so much so that not even a proper medical examination or treatment was offered to us until one week after the incident. After prolonged pursuance and pressure from the civil society, the case was handed over to the CID with ample audio-visual evidence. The investigating agency found a strong prima facie case and filed a charge sheet close to 2 years ago in the Akhlera trial court. The charge sheet records 147, 149, 323, 341, 325, 354, 379, 427 – sections covering rioting, voluntarily causing grievous hurt, assault, criminal force, theft and molestation.

I have found it most difficult to get a fair hearing at any level in the State of Rajasthan as Mr. Kanwarlal Meena seems to enjoy a close relationship with Honorable Chief Minister Ms. Vasundhara Raje and her son and Member of Parliament Mr. Dushyant Singh. He was seen sharing a stage with the accused MLA barely a few days after the incident, which clearly indicated to me that he has the highest level of political patronage.

Despite such discouraging signs and disappointing prolongment, I continue to keep hope in due process and deposed in detail narrating every second of my horrifying experience to the Judicial Magistrate in Akhlera in June 2016. The case stands there even today. RTI’s have revealed to us that Mr. Kanwarlal Meena is not a first time offender. He in fact is a serial perpetrator who has several serious cases pending against him. He was offered a BJP ticket to contest the Assembly Elections in 2013 with this track record.

I have suffered severe insomnia, two prolapsed discs in my back leading to other complications, bruises on my breasts and inner thighs that are still visible, several other lasting injuries and deep mental trauma, the past 2 years and 9 months.

Today, through #MeToo our country is seeing a collective social conscience that has risen to reject inequality and abuse of the seemingly powerless or marginalised by the powerful. Mr. Kanwarlal Meena was and continues to be disproportionately more powerful than me, an ordinary citizen. Completely blind to the fact that he was in fact bestowed with that power by ordinary citizens such as myself, he abused it to physically molest and hurt me.

You are in a powerful post that is meant to protect the Constitutional Rights of every citizen. As a citizen of this Nation who cares deeply for all the cultural values and democratic principles that India stands for, I impress upon you to utilise the power vested in you, by trusting citizens such as myself, to ensure I get a fair and speedy trial on equal standing with Mr. Kanwarlal Meena.

I seek your support and assurance in not giving Mr. Kanwarlal Meena a ticket from the BJP or any other party to re-contest an election until this trial is completed. Fair, implicitly means on equal grounds and you can help me achieve that.

Yours Sincerely,
Radhika Ganesh
Social-Cultural-Political Activist
Ek Potlee Ret Ki
NATION - National Alliance for Traditional Indigenous Occupational and Nomadic Communities