A witness to the disputed Murthal gangrapes in February was allegedly attacked by two unidentified men while he was driving from Chandigarh to Delhi on Saturday night.
Bobby Joshi, a resident of Delhi, said two men threw a stone at his Swift Dzire car along the Karnal-Panipat stretch – breaking its windows. The police have registered an FIR on the basis of a complaint filed by Joshi.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has taken suo motu notice of media reports that some women, who were commuting on the Delhi-Ambala Highway, were stripped and raped by rioters during the Jat agitation for reservations in February this year. Joshi is one of the witnesses in the case, which the Haryana government has dismissed as a complete “fabrication”.
Describing his ordeal, Joshi told: “I stopped at a shop to buy water when two men started saying: “Yahi hain jo jaton ki baat kar raha hain Murthal maamle mein.” (This is the man who’s talking about Jats in the Murthal case). I ignored them and got into my car, but they broke my car’s rear window with a big stone. As I was alone, I fled from the spot without looking back.”
When asked why he had not alerted the police, Joshi said, “As I was to get security at Panipat toll, I thought I could directly relate the incident to them. Everything happened so fast that calling 100 did not occur to me.”
Inspector general Mamta Singh, SIT in-charge in the Murthal gangrape case, said that Joshi did not take the initiative of approaching the police. “I called Joshi on Sunday morning to ask when he could join the investigation. That was when he told me that he was attacked the previous night. I forwarded the complaint to the Karnal superintendent of police, and he is looking into the matter,” Singh said.
The matter would have been much easier to resolve if the witness had informed the police immediately after the incident, she added.
Earlier, an unknown caller had allegedly threatened Joshi with dire consequences for “talking too much”.
“I received a threat call. The caller said: ‘You are speaking too much. We will see you.’ Following this, I complained to the IGP,” Joshi said, adding that he could not view the caller’s number because it was made through an internet-based system.
Joshi said that his family members were concerned about his safety and didn’t want him to pursue it any further. “My mother is a little worried right now, but I will join the investigation soon. Kisi se darta nain hun (I’m not scared of anyone),” he said.
Earlier this week, the Haryana government had told the high court that a section of gangrape had been added to the FIR on the basis of a complaint filed by Joshi on March 30. “During the Jat agitation, I saw some rogue elements creating a ruckus and misbehaving with women near Sukhdev Dhaba in Murthal. I am not scared of any threat. Besides me, there was a woman who saw everything that occurred then,” Joshi said.