How Jebkatri Tattooing Case Became Headlines in 1993 .. ?
The CBI court, Patiala’s order in the case related to tattooing word ‘Jebkatri’ on the foreheads of three women accused of pick-pocketing has brought back 23 year old memories. I recalled the incident after seeing the file photo of these three women taken by TS Bedi which has appeared with the news published by Hindustan Times.
I remember quite vividly that sunny day of December 1993 when I was working as the reporter of the Ajit at Chandigarh. I and my colleague photographer TS Bedi were at UT Guest House in connection with coverage of some news conference. We were having tea on the lawns of the Guest House when Jansatta reporter Ram Singh Brar approached me. He took me aside and said, “There is a scoop . Come if you want to cover.”
He explained that the police had tattooed word ‘Jebkatri’ on the foreheads of three women and they were at the house of a human rights activist lawyer. I shared this piece of information with Bedi who instantly expressed willingness to go. We both had very good rapport. He was always found ready for any photo-journalistic opportunity. We three went to cover that but I do not remember location of that place. Bedi clicked photographs. We listened to the entire story and conveyed this to Ajit’s Chief Editor Barjinder Singh ‘bha ji’ over phone. He asked for its immediate dispatch.
When the story along with photographs appeared in the Daily Ajit ( Punjabi ) next morning, it acted like a bombshell . Ajit, Jansatta and Indian Express carried this story on front pages but I do not remember whether on the day one it had appeared in other newspapers or not. At that time, Punjab had the Congress government led by Chief Minister Beant Singh. This incident caused a great deal of embarrassment to the government and the state police because it had come into the national media limelight..
I still have the clipping of this news that had appeared in the Ajit. As I write this, I am in the house of a friend in the city of Mason in Ohio state of USA . If I were at Chandigarh, I would have posted that news clip with this write-up. The case was taken up in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had ordered the CBI probe into this. The media followed the case initially with quite a zeal but then it was forgotten in the course of time.
Even as the plastic surgery, on the orders of the court, had helped remove the stigmatic tattoo but probably the mental scars will be hard to erase. As the follow up report in the Hindustan Times about their present condition showed, it may not be difficult to feel the trauma these women and their families may have gone through all these years.
Whether or not they have any realization or satisfaction of justice done to them but certainly it is a sad comment on our judicial system that took 23 years to bring the case to conclusion.
October 10, 2016
Mason, OHIO , USA
Click and read in Punjabi :
Related HT Links :
Jail for Punjab cops who tattooed ‘jeb katri’ on 4 women’s foreheads
How Tattood Women Reacted On The Sentence To The Accused Police Officials ?
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