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Defending Jasleen Kaur and Others Who Take on Idiots on the Roads

We’ve a lot to learn from 20-year-old Jasleen Kaur on dealing with people who try to run us over with their vehicles.

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In the last seven days, Jasleen Kaur has gone from being feted as a “braveheart” to being condemned a “liar”. In her week-long fall from grace, the 20-year-old Delhi University student has also been called a “prostitute”, a “bitch” and has even been threatened with “third degree” on several public forums.

Jasleen came into the public eye after a bike-borne Sarvjeet Singh nearly rammed into her as she was walking at Delhi’s maddening Tilak Nagar crossing on August 23. Jasleen Kaur could have kept calm and carried on. Instead, she stopped and reminded Sarvjeet the light was red. But instead of apologizing for nearly running her over, Sarvjeet decided to engage in an argument and dared her to go to the police.

Regardless of age or gender, if you’ve taken on someone with scant respect for traffic rules or zero civic sense, you’d know it can often be a humiliating and degrading experience.

But how many of us do something about it?

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We’ve a lot to learn from 20-year-old Jasleen Kaur on dealing with people who try to run us over with their vehicles.
Jasleen attached this photograph of Sarvjeet Singh and wrote, “This man shamelessly made obscene remarks at me today in Tilak Nagar. Vehicle no. with IO. Action? @DCP_North_Delhi” (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@JasleenKaur89)

Cussing: A Privilege Reserved For Men?

In his defence, Sarvjeet Singh says he was not breaking any traffic rules and was merely trying to take a left turn which was free when he ran into Jasleen. Apart from addressing her as “tu”, he claims, he did nothing wrong.

But the narrative in the media, that had so far been celebrating Jasleen’s courage, changed drastically only after an eyewitness who was “shocked at Jasleen’s un-ladylike behaviour” appeared.

She abused him and made an obscene gesture that I cannot repeat on camera. My wife was sitting on the rear seat and said – “this girl is so wrong. If she was sanskaari, she would not have talked like that in front of so many people.”
—Vishwajeet, Eyewitness to Zee News

Mr Vishwajeet clearly seems to think that using cuss words is a reflection of one’s upbringing and is a privilege reserved only for men. This is easily visible in the fact that the accounts don’t vary in terms of what actually happened, they just vary on who did it first and who was in the wrong.

Despite saying that Sarvjeet was trying to jump the light, he seems to excuse this attempt to break traffic rules, refusing to apologise to someone he nearly rammed his bike into and then argued with.

At one point, this eyewitness even asks why Jasleen needed to take on Sarvjeet when the cops who were standing nearby did not raise any objection.

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We’ve a lot to learn from 20-year-old Jasleen Kaur on dealing with people who try to run us over with their vehicles.
Misogyny alert? More than 24 hours after the incident, Vishwajeet claimed to have witnessed the argument and claimed if Jasleen had been “sanskaari”, she would not have behaved the way she did at the Tilak Nagar crossing. (Photo: YouTube Screen Grab/Zee News)
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Did the Media or Jasleen Wrongly Label Sarvjeet?

Jasleen Kaur had a clear cut motive to “name and shame” Sarvjeet Singh and has made no bones about it. The real damage, however, was done when the media sensed the potentially viral story and plastered Singh’s face under generalisations like “lout”, “pervert” and “molester”, forcing him to stop hiding his face when he went in and out the police station and speak directly to the media.

However, Jasleen stands by her account of what happened on August 23 at the Tilak Nagar crossing:

When I took out my phone to take his picture he said “Jo karna hai kar le. Ruk main pose deta hun, photo le (do whatever you want. Wait, I’ll pose for you, now take the photo),” and sat back on his bike posing for a picture and also said “Zada problem hai to aaja, aage Janak Puri tak chhodh aata hun (If you have any more problems I’ll drop you till Janak Puri).” When I clicked his picture and a picture of his number plate, he hurled abuses at me and told me, “Ab complaint karke dikha, fir dekh main kya karta hun tere sath (Wait and see what I’d do to you if you file a complaint).” I answered- “Ye tab pata chalega jab police ayegi tumhare ghar (You’ll find that out when the police comes to your house).”
Jasleen Kaur’s clarification to Youth Ki Awaaz

Let’s face it – if he did, in fact, make a snide offer to drop her to Janakpuri, he wasn’t being a good samaritan. He sexually harassed her.

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Sarvjeet’s explanation for why Jasleen Kaur was targeting him, ranges from her being an “immature child who’s looking for fame” and “found an easy target” to someone who wants to extract “political mileage”.

Does a “child” who has “political affiliations” not have the right to raise her voice when she’s been wronged?

The media’s unending quest for the “truth” has led us to turn-by-turn persecute Sarvjeet Singh and Jasleen Kaur. Is it possible that in this case, the truth is not absolute and there exist only different versions?

And isn’t it possible that a young woman who was abused, threatened and insulted raised her voice for a sense of dignity and not publicity?

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