The National Commission for Women (NCW) is taking a keen interest in the alleged rape of a maid servant by Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja. CNN-IBN spoke to NCW Chief Girija Vyas to know whether they were doing as much for other victims or whether they were interested in this case because of its high-profile, glamourous nature.
CNN-IBN: Why is the NCW taking such a keen interest in this case? There have been rape cases in the recent past for example the Surat gangrape case, the gangrape in a moving car in the Capital. Why this one specifically, especially in a case where the police have moved pretty quickly?
Girija Vyas: Not in this one only. Do you know that we have also taken cognizance of all these issues that you have raised just now. We have given the report of the Surat gangrape case to the Government. If you don't know, that is your fault. Number two, as far as the Delhi gangrape is concerned, my team is working on that as well. Whenever there is a case like this, it is the duty of the NCW to be there for the hurt parties. In this case, somebody called me. She was a very poor lady who worked as a maid somewhere and said to me - 'Do you listen to the likes of us? Poor ladies like us who are not even paid?' We have made it a rule to act for these ladies as well. This is like a test case for us. People should know that we are not only there for a few people but for all the women, the rich as well as commoners.
CNN-IBN: Are you convinced that the maid-servant who has alleged rape will not get justice or that she will not get justice because of some statements? We are already hearing statements that the victim was in love with Shiney Ahuja thereby indicating that this could have been a case of consensual sex?
Girija Vyas: No she denied it and we have already seen that in her eyes. Also, she was only a 19-year-old girl. We talked to her. Once while passing a judgement the Supreme Court had said that a lady who is killed dies at once, but a woman who is raped dies every moment and that's why being a lady you, me and every other woman are taking such a keen interest in every rape case.
CNN-IBN: You met the victim on Friday. Is she standing by her statement of rape?
Girija Vyas: When she was talking to us, she said the same thing. She said that she was taken into the room. It is the same story that she narrated to to the police in the first FIR.
CNN-IBN: Mrs Anupama Ahuja has come out in the open and spoken about a clear frame up against her husband - indirectly perhaps already alleging that there is some kind of a cover up.
Girija Vyas: I have full sympathy with the lady because you know she suffers more being a wife and she has a one-year-old daughter. I have full sympathy for her and that's why the poor lady is trying her best. We can't say who is the accused until the judgement is passed, but she was saying that her husband is innocent and she was asking about the whereabouts of the lady who was working as a maid servant.
CNN-IBN: So far there is nothing to suggest that the investigations are off track. I am wondering if the NCW's keen interest is being determined by the media attention and the high-profile nature of this case?
Girija Vyas: Of course the media is very good and they always support us and they have given us a lot of inputs from distant areas. On those grounds we have been able to make 54 new bills for women. I am really thankful to the media, but I have not come here for that, because I have taken it as a test case - for the maid servant, for sexual harassment at the work place. I want to pass a bill for maid servants, a comprehensive bill. I want to understand whether this case fits in the sexual assault bill that we are framing or whether we need to add something more. And when someone calls you up at midnight and asks why we don't care for them, then how can we stop ourselves from working for them?