A fractured wrist did not merit an FIR, let alone abusive words and harassment. When Seema (name changed) went to the police station to complain against harassment by local hooligans, the authorities did not take action. It took Seema, a victim of eve-teasing, and her family five months just to get a case registered.

In August 2010, Seema and her sister were returning home in Korhar village, Patna district, when two youths, Sudhir Kumar Singh, alias Sukal, and Bhutri Kumar abused them. “They then twisted my wrist and fractured it. They snatched our watches and pulled at the chest and cheeks,” Seema told social activist Varsha.

Her family went to court, three days after the incident but the police would not register a case. The following month, the court issued a memo to the Bihta police station to “investigate the case.” Seeing no progress, the family then approached the assistant superintendent of police in January, 2011. They also wrote to the senior superintendent of police (SSP), who issued directions to the police station. Finally, the police registered a case on January 26, 2011.

In an appeal to the SSP, Seema’s father, a small farmer, alleged that the police shielded the accused and “acted under pressure from a press reporter who was related to the accused.” “Even today, the accused are roaming free. They are threatening us with dire consequences. We fear that [lack of action] would encourage the miscreants. The poor need to get justice,” the father wrote.

The first hurdle, however, had still not been crossed. When the police filed the charge sheet in March, 2011, the family discovered that important sections, related to harassment and eve-teasing, were not included in the charges. The family then approached Varsha, who wrote another letter to the SSP, raising concerns about dilution of the case.

“There is no progress is this case. A petition is pending in the Danapur court. A warrant was issued against the accused, but they got bail. Based on the case charge sheet, we appealed to the SSP. We showed him her broken wrist,” Varsha said.

The final FIR now has the crucial Section 354 (outraging modesty) along with 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 325 (causing grievous hurt), 323 (causing hurt), 379 (theft) and 34 (common intention).

The case is now with the judicial magistrate and Seema’s mother has testified in court. Seema has to live with a broken right wrist. She is able to do small tasks, but complex ones, like kneading dough, are beyond her. She has made up her mind for a long march to justice.