Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.IANS

On Monday, the Haryana government declared a cash reward for the two sisters who fought back against three molesters on a moving bus.

The sisters, 22-year-old Arati and 19-year-old Pooja, will be felicitated by the Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Republic Day next year and will be rewarded ₹31,000 each. He applauded the girls for standing against the molesters.

"Both the girls had shown indomitable courage and bravery by opposing the misdemeanour of three youth who tried to 'molest' them in a moving bus of Haryana Roadways at Rohtak," Khattar said in a statement.

Following the incident, the state government has issued a notice to the state Director General of Police (DGP) and state transport department to ensure safety of women passengers in government buses.

Union Minister of Water Resources Uma Bharti and National Commission for Women chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam have also condemned the incident and acknowledged the girls' bravery.

"All the girls should do what these sisters did. They did well. But it is sad that none of the other passengers came to their help. The society has to change its mindset and people should stop being mere onlookers when such incidents take place," Bharti said.

While Bharti asked the people to change their perception towards women and respect them, Kumaramangalam asked the concerned authorities and government to take action against such violators.

"I would like to congratulate the girls and ask the authorities to take appropriate action. Few girls have the guts to take on the molesters. The government should take action. I would appeal to every Indian to come forward," said Kumaramangalam.

The two sisters were eve-teased and harassed by three youths on a moving bus on Friday while they were travelling back to their village from Rohtak. The duo reportedly beat up the men and one of them used her belt to thrash the molesters.

However, instead of extending help, the fellow passengers asked them to stop fighting and step back.

"Others in the bus told us 'don't do anything... they will rape you or pour acid on you. They will kill you'...We were scared but we did not give up," NDTV quoted Aarti as saying.

Meanwhile, the bus driver and conductor have been suspended. And the three youths – Kuldeep, Mohit and Deepak – have been arrested and were sent to judicial custody until 6 December.

The girls have also alleged that the family of the youths pressurised their parents to withdraw the complaint as their career will be ruined.

"They told our father - change the statement - they are about to join the army...their lives will be ruined. What about our lives? Can men like these protect our country?" Pooja said.

Meanwhile, a source from the army said their application might be cancelled and the Army will not take such criminals in their force. "There is no place for such men in the Indian army," the source said.