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India fightback video: 'Why I beat up three men with my belt'

image copyrightPress Trust of India
image captionThe incident was captured by a passenger on a mobile phone

An unusual video of two sisters beating up three men, who were allegedly sexually harassing them on a moving bus in India, has gone viral on social media. Police have arrested the men and charged them with assault. The younger of the sisters, 19-year-old Pooja, spoke to BBC Hindi's Dilnawaz Pasha.

We were at the new bus stand in Rohtak in Haryana state when these men started throwing pieces of paper at us with their mobile numbers on them.

After they did it three or four times, I told them to stop.

But they wouldn't listen, they also tried to misbehave with me, saying "call us on this number".

After we boarded the bus, they also got on. They stood near us and started to tease us. "You don't deserve a seat on this bus," they said.

So I asked them who were they to tell me what I did or did not deserve?

At that point, a lady sitting behind us told the men to stop harassing us.

They turned to her and said, "Ok, we will leave them and harass you."

When they began harassing her, I intervened: "Your fight is with us, keep it to us. Don't harass this lady."

The men started to abuse me and touch me. I told them "if you touch me again, you'll get beaten up".

They called a friend on the phone and told him to "come over because we have to beat up some girls".

'Crossing the limit'

At the next village, their friend boarded the bus and then they attacked us. I took out my belt and hit them in self-defence.

They threw us out of the bus and came after us. They were still fighting with us.

No-one on the bus came forward to help us. But we were not surprised, no-one here protests. People here only tell women "don't do this, or don't do that". No-one tells men anything.

If we had any hope that our fellow passengers would save us, then why would I need to take out my belt? Then I would first ask them for help.

But the circumstances were such that I had to take out my belt and beat them.

Earlier, if you told men off, they would back off. But this time, these men crossed the limit and raised their hands on us.

If this video didn't exist, we wouldn't even know which village they were from. We only knew them by face.

Now we are being asked to compromise by the families of the men.

The men are due to join the army on 18 December and their families are telling us to "agree to a compromise, so that their jobs will be saved".

"We will beat up our sons in front of the entire village and ask them to touch your feet and ask for forgiveness," they said.

My father said if the men admitted their mistake, then we could compromise.

But then the families retracted.

They said "if we punish our sons or police beat them, they will kill themselves".

We are not under any pressure from the police, but the men's families say "if our sons kill themselves, we will hold you responsible and file a case against you".

Related Topics

  • Gender
  • India
  • Women's rights
  • Rape in India
  • Sexism

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