‘Justice for Anikta’ reverberates in Uttarakhand hills as dharna by her parents enter third day

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‘Justice for Anikta’ reverberates in Uttarakhand hills as dharna by her parents enter third day


Dehradun, Feb 29

The demand seeking justice for Ankita Bhandari, the young girl who was allegedly murdered by the son of a senior RSS functionary and allegations of her parents of official complicity in saving the culprits continue to reverberates in the hills of Uttarakhand as the dharna by her parents at Pipalchori in Srinagar Garhwal entered its’ third day today. The protestors rallying under the banner of “#JusticeForAnkita” sat in solidarity with her parents seeking a fair probe and trial in the case.

“This is a fervent call for justice which stems from a collective desire to address a matter of great concern that has captured the hearts of those fighting for truth and accountability,” said Virendra Singh Bhandari, father of deceased Ankita Bhandari.

Ankita’s story, is a tragic tale as few conscientious citizens sit in peaceful protest in solidarity with her grieving mother. “ The protest is not just about an individual case; it symbolizes the broader call for transparency, accountability, and fairness within the Uttarakhand government. The participants, through their collective voices, are challenging the system to ensure that justice is served not just in this particular instance but as a precedent for a fair and impartial legal process,” said Dr. Mukesh Semwal, a participant and secretary of state unit of Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI).

Ankita Bhandari hailing from Pauri Garhwal district was killed by Pulkit Arya, the owner of Vantara resort, where she worked 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.

Interestingly, after the murder the resort was demolished and set on fire allegedly to destroy evidence on the instructions of some ‘powerful people’. The state government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a DIG to probe the case which in order to bail out the state government claimed that all the evidences have been collected from the resort.

Meanwhile, the mother of Ankita Bhandari has named a senior functionary of the RSS of being the VIP to be ‘served’ at the resort and refusal by her daughter which allegedly led to her murder. Soni Devi said that despite her written requests to the state government and the Special Investigative Team (SIT) to take action against the named person, nothing has been done.

The parents further charge that despite being named by the witnesses during the court trial for ordering the demolition of Vantara resorts following the murder to destroy the evidence, no action has been initiated against the local BJP legislator Renu Bisht and the local then SDM Parmod Kumar.

The dharna by parents of Ankita Bhandari to seek justice for their murdered daughter at Pipalchori at Srinagar Garhwal entered its’ third day on February 29,2024.

The parents charge that deliberate attempts are being made to stall or slow the proceedings in the murder case with an explicit aim of saving the alleged murderers. They allege that the payments of the government counsel Ajay Negi were not paid while the wife of Ashutosh Negi, the lawyer of Ankita Bhandari, who is a government teacher has been transferred to Pithoragarh just to harass them. The lawyer and his teacher wife has an infant child to look after.

The parents also complain that the announcement of the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to name Dobshrikot Nursing College after Ankita Bhandari has yet to materialise.

As the protestors persist in their peaceful sit-in alongside Ankita’s mother, the demand for answers and accountability becomes louder. Citizens from various walks of life have joined hands, emphasizing the need for a thorough investigation, transparency in legal proceedings, and the assurance that such incidents will not be repeated in the future.

Social media has played a pivotal role in amplifying the message of #JusticeForAnkita, allowing the movement to reach beyond physical boundaries and garner support from a wider audience. The power of social media activism has enabled the protestors to share Ankita’s story, mobilize public opinion, and put pressure on authorities to address the concerns raised by the community.

The Uttarakhand government faces the challenge of addressing the grievances raised by the protestors and assuring the public that justice will be served without any biases. The outcome of this protest will not only determine the fate of Ankita’s case but will also serve as a barometer of the government’s commitment to upholding justice and the rule of law.

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