CHANDIGARH: The Supreme Court’s verdict on privacy as a fundamental right came too late for the family of the 10-year-old rape victim who gave birth to a baby earlier in August amid a media feeding frenzy. The child’s case went right up to the Supreme Court on the question of whether she could abort the baby.
When news of the child’s sexual abuse by her uncle broke, media crews massed up at the servants’ quarters the family lived in. Initially, the girl’s father told the media the whole story in the hope that his child would get justice. But although the girl’s name was not reported, the family’s identity was compromised in the neighbourhood and the girl’s father was touched to the quick.
It was a scene straight out of the movie Peepli Live. The OB vans of news channels staked out the victim’s family and the neighbourhood bristled with rumour and innuendo. One journalist tried to interview the girl posing as a police officer. Things grew so bad that the girl’s father wrote to the Chandigarh administration, refusing any help and demanding that the media be restrained. At one point, accosted by media crews outside his home, the man said, “Please leave us alone, I beg you. I don’t need your help.”
Media representatives weren’t his only stalkers. Volunteers of NGOs too made a beeline to him with offers of help, and the hapless man told them his sad tale in good faith and was shocked to see all the minute details published in the press.