Justice awaited for Ankita Bhandari even after one year
Dehradun , Sept 18
The hills of Uttarakhand continue to reverberates with the demand to seek justice for Ankita Bhandari , a young girl who was brutally killed by a son of a senior ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and RSS functionary , exactly a year ago. Throughout the year, the old parents of Ankita Bhandari , a 19 year old girl continue to fight the legal battle seeking justice for their unfortunate young daughter along with civil society members and young students who had been in the forefront in the battle.
The Ankita Bhandari murder in September 2022 had shook the country as common people, social and women organisations who observed a strike and held protest demonstrations throughout the state seeking justice for Ankita Bhandari. However with the passage of time, the vigour of such protests fizzled out.
However, the political importance of the issue was not lost on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami announced two days ago that the government Nursing college at Srkot, in Pauri Garhwal, the native place of the slain girl would be named after Ankita Bhandari. He reiterated the resolve of his government to provide justice to the bereaved family.
On the other hand, ‘Justice for Ankita Bhandari Committee, Srinagar Garhwal held a condolence meeting on her first death anniversary at Pipal Chauri Bus stand in which hundreds of people, students and activists participated. Virender Bhandari, Father of Ankita Bhandari speaking on the occasion said that if the accused gets bail, then people have to come on the streets to fight for justice. Members of the All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO), a student wing of Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI), a left party staged a play based on Ankita Bhandari story.
Ganga Asnora, a senior journalist said that by naming a government college is not enough but justice should be done with her. Reshma Panwar, a member of the ‘Justice for Ankita Committee’ said that denial of justice to the family of ASnkita Bhandari is a failure of the state government which claims to provide security to women and girls.
In Dehradun , main opposition, Congress party took up the issue of Ankita Bhandari case. Senior Vice-President of Uttarakhand Congress Suryakant Dhasmana addressing a press conference asked that when justice would be delivered in the Ankita Bhandari murder case. He said that every effort is being made by the ruling party to safe the VVIP whom Ankita Bhandari had named before being done to death. He said that despite clear evidence, the name of the VVIP to whom Ankita Bhandari was allegedly asked to serve which she denied and ultimately led to her murder has not come out despite one long year of investigations.
He said that it was the main reason for the state BJP government not to seek a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case.
Ankita Bhandari hailing from Pauri Garhwal district was killed by Pulkit Arya, the owner of Vantara resort near Luxman Jhula area near Rishikesh on September 18,2022 when she refused to give ‘Special services” to some VIP clients. She had joined the resort owned by Pulkit Arya, who is son of Vinod Arya, a senior BJP leader and former RSS ‘Parcharak’, who had also enjoyed a ministerial rank position in the previous BJP state government led by another former RSS ‘Parcharak’ Trivendra Singh Rawat.
Ankita’s refusal and threat to expose the resort owner, infuriated him who threw her in Chilla canal to drown after beating her up. The revenue police refused to even write a complaint by the father of the deceased girl but after a hue and cry in social media, the case was transferred to regular police. The three alleged accused were apprehended by the police. Meanwhile, all the three accused namely Pulkit Arya, Ankit and Saurab are in jail. The state government had to change the prosecution lawyer under tremendous public pressure.