The Tragic Murder Of Ankita Bhandari Points To The Entitlement Of Powerful Men

Ankita Bhandari is neither the first nor the last one to go through such trauma. Every South Asian girl has gone through such disturbing incidents of breach of consent in their life.

In a horrifying incident in Uttarakhand, a 19 year-old girl named Ankita Bhandari was found dead in Cheena canal near Hrishikesh on 25th September, 6 days after she went missing from her workplace. Post mortem revealed she was thrown into canal and died due to drowning.

Who was Ankita Bhandari and what happened

Daughter of an Aanganwadi worker and a farmer, Ankita was a bright student, securing 88% in her class 12 examination. She subsequently pursued a Hotel Management course and joined the resort in August 2022 where she was brutally killed exactly a month after, even before she received her first salary.

The prime suspect of the murder is owner of the resort Pulkit Arya, son of a former minister of the ruling party, Vinod Arya. The early police investigation and statements of ex-employees of the resort strongly suggest that the resort served as a major hub for drug abuse and prostitution.

There were some texts sent by Ankita to her friend before she went missing, in which she has said that Pulkit had offered her an amount of Rs. 10k for “special services”- as quoted by the police, and that she was scared. Her refusal to the idea ultimately resulted into her being mercilessly murdered and thrown into a canal.

The question of consent

This again brings us back to the same old discussion of consent.

Despite all the talk in the media about consent and what it means, so many  still refuse to acknowledge its value, and even now a NO doesn’t essentially mean NO for the assaulters.

A simple, plain, blatant NO lead to her killing by a powerful brat who probably would have thought that nobody would dare to touch him as he hails from a strong political background. Plus there may be multiple times when he was able to coerce girls like Ankita, who had no other choice when there was a threat of violence and gave in to his methods, making him believe that he was invincible.

This tragic murder is a symptom of a much bigger ailment in society

It’s not just about this tragic murder, but also about the threat that entitled men like Pulkit represent, and the mental trauma that so many young women face due to men like Pulkit.

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Ankita Bhandari is neither the first nor the last one to go through such trauma. Every South Asian girl has gone through multiple such disturbing incidents in their life.

Even had she survived, the mental implications of such incident on a mere 19 year old young woman are beyond one’s imagination. We owe them a serious apology and a more inclusive world. They all deserve it.

Will justice be served?

Anyone who really thinks justice will be served is highly optimistic in the present law enforcement and judicial system.

The Resort, a potential crime scene – was burnt and demolished even as it was being called an outrageous move by the local public. But if you dig deeper into it, it looks more like a pre-conspired move rather than a mob outrage. A very clever attempt made to destroy major evidences present in the resort in lieu of mass outrage.

What will happen further in the case is anyone’s guess. But in the meantime, unless there is some revolutionary mindset change in society, these things will happen with horrifying regularity. What solutions do you have?

Image source: YouTube

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Sagar Dalwani

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