Women across India are posting pictures of themselves on social media at midnight with the hashtag #AintNoCinderella in response to a politician questioning why a victim of stalking was out late at night.
Ramveer Bhatti, deputy president of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party in Haryana, a state in northern India, questioned why the victim of a stalking incident was out late to begin with.
“The girl should not have gone out at 12 in the night,” Bhatti told CNN-News18.
The woman has been identified as 29-year-old Varnika Kundu. In a widely shared Facebook post, Kundu said two men followed her car and tried to kidnap her while she was driving home last week around midnight in Chandigarh, the capital of Haryana.
“It was a white SUV, and as I noticed it, it pulled up and started driving alongside my car,” Kundu said on Facebook. “There were two guys inside the SUV, and they seemed to really be enjoying harassing a lone girl in the middle of the night.”
Had it not been for the police, Kundu said she might not be alive.
Bhatti faces mounting scrutiny after questioning why, to begin with, Kundu was out that late.
In response, women across India voiced disapproval of the politician by posting selfies of themselves out late at night, accompanied by the hashtag #AintNoCinderella.
The stalking incident snowballed into major controversy after Chandigarh police said that it had retrieved footage from cameras that reportedly showed one of the two suspects was Vikas Barala, the son of Haryana’s BJP president Subhash Barala, the Hindustan Times reported. The two suspects were arrested and released on bail hours later, according to local media.
The incident elicited spontaneous and strong reaction from women across India who said that for too long women have been targets of harassment, stalking and sexual assault, particularly following the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi.