Pascal Mazurier is facing trial for raping his three and half years old daughter. What should one make of Indian Express’ reportage — plain insensitivity or misogyny? According to our sources some sections of the media seem to be going out of their way to clean up Pascal Mazurier’s ‘image’ – ignoring the medical evidence that presented proof of sexual abuse. The matter is in court.
Read IE’s report and decide whether this is a balanced report? –
Pascal Mazurier cannot forget the last time he saw his elder son. The date was June 14, 2012, and he was preparing the seven-year-old for school. As always, father and son watched the city shake off its slumber and waved to each other as the school bus drove away. Neither took the goodbyes seriously. “I wish I had hugged him more that day,” Mazurier says now. In the next few hours, the then deputy head of chancery at the Consulate of France, Bangalore, would watch his life come undone. His wife of 11 years, 39-year-old Suja Jones, would accuse him of repeatedly raping their then four-year-old daughter. Swept up in the march of events, he would be peremptorily branded a criminal, a demon undeserving of a family or a career. Despite the lack of evidence against him, he would be suspended from work, jailed for 122 days, and refused the right to visit his three children.
For the past year and a half, Mazurier, 40, has parried blows from all directions, but what bothers him most is that news of his children hasn’t reached him for several months now. They go to school and live with their mother in a gated community on the outskirts of Bangalore. “I miss being submerged by their demands, their questions, their energy. I used to help them with their homework, teach them how to eat or tie their shoelaces. When I see children in my neighbourhood now, I automatically wonder where my little ones are, what they are doing right now. I miss their voices,” Mazurier says. “I can’t forgive myself for marrying Suja.”
His discharge application is pending in the criminal court for 10 months and the case has been heard by two judges already. Hopeful, Mazurier goes to every hearing. “I look at the picture of Mahatma Gandhi and I silently ask him to make justice prevail,” he says. He is eager to set foot in France, visit his relatives and spend time with his 91-year-old grandmother. “I recently lost a grandfather and I was stuck here. I should have gone to his funeral. I am very angry, this is not my life, and I don’t belong in court halls,” he says.
Yet, it is not anger but worry that is writ large on his face, as though thoughts of the battle that lies ahead have coalesced into a storm of mounting anxiety. “Pascal is not the same anymore. The only time I have seen him smile in the past year is when he has talked of his children,” says Rebecca Abikzir, a Bangalore-based entrepreneur and Mazurier’s friend who is half French and half Indian. “He is proud of them and longs to meet them.”
After the original suit initiated by Jones in June 2012 for custody of the children was dismissed by a family court on August 30, 2013, Maurizer has complained that she has slighted orders that she should bring them to visit Mazurier’s mother, who now lives with him in Bangalore.
Mazurier hasn’t given up; he is no longer the man who cried in the solitude of the prison lavatory. When the initial shock wore off, he started to write, collecting his thoughts and writing letters he hopes his children will read some day. “I write about the case, about my life with Suja and the children, because I want to leave a testimony about this part of my life. My children are being made to believe I am a monster. I want to leave them a book or a collection of letters to help them escape this brainwashing,” he says. “This book that I am writing, in French and in English, is my life insurance and a legacy to my children.”
In the new year, Mazurier hopes to leap over the obstacles and reclaim his life. And he wants his diplomatic career back. Cocktail parties and VIP cars are just part of it, he says. “I remember sealing coffins and dodging bullets in Chad in 2008. But it is the career I chose.”