Saravjeet Singh, a 28-year-old Delhi resident was termed as an “eve- teaser” and a “pervert” three years ago and since then he is paying the price for it. Accused in an alleged verbal harassment case, he is struggling to live a normal life. He doesn’t have a permanent job as he has to go to the court and police station time and again. Whereas the complainant, Jasleen Kaur, has missed all the hearings till now. The alleged harassment incident happened in Delhi in 2015. Saravjeet was publicly shamed on social media and tv news channels after a Facebook post by Jasleen Kaur went viral.
The Facebook post by Jasleen Kaur
Jasleen Kaur, a former St. Stephens College student, shared a Facebook post where she accused Saravjeet of verbally harassing her at the Tilak Nagar traffic signal in West Delhi; the incident made national headlines.
Popular Indian websites, social media pages and news outlets saw a potential viral story and they published the photo of the accused without even blurring his face and started publicly shaming him without cross-checking the facts. There was no evidence to support the claim: no video and certainly the photo didn’t show the man in a mood which could have substantiated the girl’s claim. He was publicly shamed in front of millions of people.
As soon as the news spread, the media channels called Saravjeet a “pervert” and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and actress Sonakshi Sinha, lauded the woman’s ‘bravery’.
Without making any delay, the Delhi Police arrested Saravjeet in a days time. However, before his arrest, Saravjeet had also put out his side of the story in the comment section of Jasleen’s Facebook post.
Talking about that fateful day Saravjeet told The Logical Indian, “She was a stranger to me, that day also there was a slight argument between us, I did not abuse her nor did I physically harm her.”
When asked about his “Jo bhi Karnaa hai karlo(do whatever you can)” statement, he said, he was going to leave the signal, when the woman started to take pictures he asked her why she was doing it, to which she responded by saying that she will get the cops to Sarvjeet’s place.
“I had nothing to say at that time to her, in a very reflex action, I just told her to do whatever she wants and left the place,” he added.
Soon after this, an eyewitness named Vishwajeet Singh came up in support of Saravjeet, and he vouched for his innocence.
The witness claimed that it was Jasleen, who had first started to abuse and misbehaved with Saravjeet verbally.
According to The Print, the accused in this case (Saravjeet) has lamented about his troubles as he is stuck in the case. He says that it has been three years, and the arguments in his case are yet to begin. The delay here is because the complainant Jasleen Kaur has not attended even a single hearing in the matter out of the 13 hearings so far. Even after that, a Delhi district has issued a bailable warrant against her on August 28.
The Logical Indian spoke to Saravjeet, who said, “This case is a mental stress to me, I have been going to the court for the last three years and nothing has come out of it till now. My life has changed since the time of this case.”
While speaking to The Print, Saravjeet says, “Each time I go to the court for the hearing, they call out my name, ask me to put my hand up and write down my name. Then they ask if the complainant has come. Because she is absent, another date is given, and the matter is dismissed. This has been happening for the past three years”.
“She has a right to make her career and not me”
He further claims that each time, when the court asked why the complainant is not present, the woman’s father tells the court that she has gone to Canada to study there.
“So that means she has the right to make a career, but I do not,” he says.
Meanwhile, The Print has tried to contact Jasleen and her lawyer over the phone and also through social media, but both of them were not available.
“His troubles so far”
Saravjeet says in the last three years, every time he needs to leave the city he has to appear at a police station. He is also having troubles in keeping his job. In the last three years, he has to leave a couple of jobs as he was involved in the case.
“Soon after the incident, the company I was working with asked me to leave. The company I was working for produce labels for branded clothes and had international clients. So, my boss told me that I would have to leave the company. As the company’s name was being tainted because the news had spread to our international clients as well,” he said.
He then took up a job with a salary cut of 40 per cent at a marriage bureau. He says he had to do it as he has no other option.
Saravjeet with a Bachelors of Arts and animation diploma again had to leave his marriage bureau job in just a few months.
He joined another company in November 2016 but was asked to leave because of his regular visits to the court.
He says, after he himself went to the judge regarding the case, the judge reportedly told him that, if the complainant (Jasleen) does not appear in the next hearing scheduled in December, a non-bailable warrant will be issued against her.
“Hopefully, my case will be decided if she fails to appear in the next hearing,” Saravjeet added.
The wrongs media did
In 2016, the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) had also asked the national news channel Times Now to issue an apology and pay a fine for their reporting on Jasleen Kaur case. Arnab Goswami was the editor-in-chief of Times Now at that time.
The agency said that the channel reporting was “aggressive, intimidating, and browbeating style”. The order further noted that channel treated the accused as guilty, as reported by The First Post.
Actor Sonakshi Sinha, who had earlier backed Jasleen, also apologised to Sarvjeet.
Being a girl, gave the benefit of doubt to Jasleen, like many others! And like many others am embarrassed n let down! Apologies to the guy.
— Sonakshi Sinha (@sonakshisinha) August 27, 2015
Times now employee apology
After the Print story, a former Times Now employee, who claims to have put out the story of the alleged Jasleen’s harassment case has now apologised (in a personal capacity) to Sarvjeet.
“I could not apologise to Sarvjeet earlier because I was working with the Times group then. Today, I could not stop myself and wrote to him,” he added.
“I demand an apology from the channel”
“Times Now called me a molester, pervert and what not. I was insulted and maligned on the national television for no reason, I just want the Channel or the anchor to apologise at least once,” he said.
He also said that, maafi magane se koi chota ni ho jata, (Nobody becomes any lesser if they apologise for their wrongdoings). If the channel has done something wrong they should apologise it will change the life of many people.