Sisters Pooja and Aarti became an overnight sensation last year after a video that showed the two women beating up men they claimed were harassing them on a moving Haryana Roadways bus was circulated online. The sisters from Haryana were hailed as ‘bravehearts’ and praised for finding the courage to report abuse when many under similar situation would suffer in silence.
The Haryana government had decided to award the girls for their bravery but held back when some passengers on the bus claimed that the youths had not molested the sisters and the fight was for a seat on the bus.
The widely-covered story took another turn on Wednesday when reports emerged that the two sisters failed a polygraph and psychological assessment test (PAT). The two accused who were arrested soon after the incident reportedly cleared the test.
A report in Aaj Tak stated that parts of the test results were leaked from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Delhi's CBI headquarters before they were made public.
The report said the responses of the girls were unsatisfactory whereas the accused boys responded “positively” to the questions asked during the test. Interestingly, at the time of the bus incident, another video of the sisters thrashing a youth in a park in Rohtak had emerged leading many to question their version.
The lawyer employed by the families of the boys said the leaked report has strengthened their case.
— Genderlog (@genderlogindia) February 19, 2015
So the #RohtakSisters episode was false -- great goin girls this will help the cause of genuine cases to no end. Shameful 15secs of fame 😡
— Eternal Optimist (@Optimist_Chic) February 19, 2015
If it's true that the #RohtakSisters lied (failed lie detector tests) they just failed every woman has ever stood up against sexual abuse
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) February 19, 2015
The police have not provided official confirmation on the results of the test, but a cop told News18 that "The girls have hidden some facts from the police as the Polygraph and Psychological Assessment Test (PAT) suggests, whereas the accused have cleared the test."
The lawyers of the complainants alleged that “unnecessary and objectionable questions were asked to the girls”.
Meanwhile, Twitter erupted with indignation and users said this was a set back for real victims of abuse who will now not be taken seriously.
Here we go. Another fake case. The #RohtakSisters just failed every other woman who experienced sexual assault and tried to fight it.
— Agratha Dinakaran (@Agratha) February 19, 2015
#RohtakSisters is an example of extreme misuse of legal and social system to gain popularity! Spare a thought for the real victims of abuse!
— Shakthi (@v_shakthi) February 19, 2015
#RohtakSisters is a blot on the real victims.Same kind makes false cases of domestic violence & rape. How will ppl believe the real victims?
— Tinu Cherian Abraham (@tinucherian) February 19, 2015
— Deepika Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) February 19, 2015