|BJP national vice-president Kiran Ghai and (above) All India Progressive Women’s Association state president Saroj Chaube. Telegraph pictures
Patna, Jan. 5: Some called her mentally unsound. Others blamed her over ambition for her disgrace. Her in-laws have even questioned her virtue. But a number of women’s organisations and non-governmental organisations that work for female empowerment backed the disgraced principal.
A number of women activists came out and spoke in her favour today. Some even complimented her for taking a bold step and punishing her tormentor.
Saroj Chaube, the state president of All India Progressive Women’s Association, said her organisation would try to support Rupam financially as well as emotionally.
“Only women can understand what another woman goes through before taking such a step. She must have contemplated on her act and its consequences a thousand times over before committing it,” said Chaube.
“It is unfortunate that she has lost all faith in the system. She must have realised that she would not get justice through law, as the MLA and his aide had a powerful political clout. So she resorted to the only option left for her,” said Chaube.
The activist also said: “It is shameful that the state government is defending Rajkishore Keshari and no one is listening to Rupam. What kind of justice can you expect when even the deputy chief minister is openly defending Keshari, without conducting an inquiry into the incident?”
All India Progressive Women’s Association would stage a dharna in the capital on January 8. It would also present the case before the National Commission for Women.
“We will seek justice for Rupam. There are talks of hiking security for MLAs. But what about the security of women in the state? A large number of women are exploited but their voices are never heard. Rupam’s voice has emerged. We will not allow politicians to malign Rupam’s reputation,” she added.
Suman Singh, the secretary of non-governmental organisation Sakhi, said her organisation would also stand firmly behind Rupam.
“One should consider the fact that Rupam was ill-treated by the system. Only she and late Rajkishore Keshari know what actually transpired. But what she did would inspire other women to take strong action and free themselves from the clutches of their exploiters,” said Singh.
But BJP national vice-president Kiran Ghai toed the party line and said the entire incident was unfortunate.
“Rupam is alone and all the residents of Purnea are supporting Keshari. There is no political conspiracy, nor is Rupam mentally unstable. We all are deeply grieved at the loss of a dedicated party worker,” said Ghai.
Rupam had accused Keshari and his personal assistant, Bipin Rai, last May of sexually harassing her and raping her.
She had also lodged an FIR against Keshari and Rai at the Khajanchi police station. But she later turned hostile in court.
The 43-year-old school principal stabbed and killed Keshari yesterday at his home.
Rupam had first met Keshari when the MLA had come to inaugurate her school, Rajnish, on April 14, 2006.
He had also given the school Rs 1.93 lakh from the MLA LAD fund in 2007.