India, Mar 26, 2015 – Bangalore Mirror Bureau
She put up with his shenanigans as otherwise her parents would have made her discontinue studies
She was all of 16 years old when her maternal uncle came to her hometown of Sakleshpura and offered financial help as well as accommodation for her to pursue her studies. Since her parents were poor, they readily accepted his generous offer, and the thrilled teen packed her bags to set off for Hassan.
The year was 2003, and having just completed her tenth standard, Rachana (name changed to protect identity) was overjoyed at the prospect of studying in Hassan; but it was only upon arriving at her uncle’s house that she realised the man’s true intentions.
For, in the absence of his two wives, 54-year-old Shamanna (name changed) allegedly used to molest the little girl by squeezing her all over her body, and even flashing her occasionally.
The moment his wives returned, however, he used to behave normally and pretend to treat her like his daughter. Fearing that her parents would make her discontinue her studies if she revealed the trauma she was undergoing, the victim put on a brave face and didn’t breathe a word to anyone, including her aunts.
After bearing the worst possible physical harassment for almost two years, Rachana obtained her pre-university certificate with distinction and bagged a free engineering seat in a premier engineering college in Bengaluru.
However, Shamanna was not ready to send his niece to Bengaluru and instead wanted her to stay back in Hassan, which also has a government engineering college. Fortunately, she was able to convince her parents that she wanted to move and her grandparents agreed to help her financially.
But Shamanna grew increasingly frustrated that Rachana refused to co-operate with him sexually, so he continued to harass her. When she was in the city, he would call repeatedly on her hostel’s landline number and harass her; but if she failed to answer his calls, he would continue to call and would even instruct the warden to have his niece call him back.
In 2010, Rachana graduated with a bachelor’s in engineering degree with flying colours and landed a plush job with a major tech firm in the city, to which she used to commute from her paying guest accommodation in Banashankari. All the while, Shamanna allegedly continued to call and pester her on her mobile phone.
And so it was that five years came to pass, but the last straw for her was when Shamanna managed to disrupt the now 26-year-old victim’s marriage to a man her parents had selected a month ago.
So full of vengeance was the uncle since his niece refused to comply with his wishes, that he lied to Rachana’s fiance that she was engaged in physical relationships with several men. That put paid to the engagement.
That was the last straw. The techie broke down and came clean to her parents about the sexual harassment she had been facing for years. However, when Shamanna was confronted by his family, he flatly refuted all the allegations and claimed he never laid a finger on her.
Since the families are from Hassan, and the district is close to Dharmasthala, where the presiding deity of the temple town Lord Manjunatha is also famously known as the powerful God of Truth, the victim challenged her uncle to deny the allegations against him and attempt to besmirch her character in front of the deity.
It is said liars refuse to take the test fearing God’s wrath; and Shamanna too, refused to do so. Left with no other option, Rachana then knocked on the doors of the South division police on March 19 seeking strict action against the man who plagued her for years. The police have registered a case against him for outraging the modesty of a woman and criminal intimidation. Shamanna continues to be at large, and Rachana and her parents are hoping the police will deliver justice.