There was a lot of enthusiasm recently when the Prime Minister gave an impetus to having selfie with daughter – with an encouraging message of ensuring gender neutrality towards offspring and ensuring safety of girl child. Kudos PM. However selfie or photo-ops do not provide solution. This became clear last Thursday when a 19 year Delhi girl Meenakshi was stabbed to death in a busy market in Delhi itself by a stalker against whom she had lodged police complaint earlier.
What Really Happened
As per press reports, the stalker passed lewd remarks against the girl. Her crime- well to repeat- her crime was she protested and was brutally murdered for her crime, with several Baap-Beta-Bhais certainly around, looking at assassination of a Beti with impunity. Chalta Hai, Shame on all of us- part of civil society who are blind to such Beti murders and move on. Our conscience is at a state of suspended animation, all the time. Picking up a candle stick for women safety or a selfie with Beti can not wish away our guilt in being mute spectator to the murder of a Beti.
The mother of the murdered girl, Usha Rani says that the accused cannot stand Meenakshi wearing shorts or jeans. Capital punishment for wearing Jeans in the capital of India? This can beat even the worst Taliban treatment for women.
The Problem Persists
It is not an isolated instance. In case after case, as reported in Times of India, the accused (stalkers) have attacked their victims- Priyadarshini Matoo in 1996 to Radhika Tanwar in 2011. No change is the only constant we have, through all the changing decades. There is no protection whatsoever in real life, for women who stand up and complain.
So many debates have happened post Nirbhaya rape. Gender Sensitivity, policing, women safety and what not. But the problem remains as it is, where it is. Men in uniform have brought shame for the recent atrocities against women by their own colleagues- at gunpoint. Add to that, the all pervading male machoism on the borderline of criminal suppression of and violence against woman is taken as given in the society. With this in background, there is no full stop in India- in at least crime against women.
Dear PM. with your slogan, “bahut hua nari par baar…abki baar Modi Sarkar” you could touch the chord of millions of helpless girls and women. They expect you to be their guardian in protecting them from onslaughts of an unequal social order and state machinery that is inefficient at best and colluding/ perpetrating the crimes at the worst. Can you please bring yourself out of this photo-op and stand up in the crowd with that 56” chest to protect the dignity of bahu-beti and ask your government to ensure that the vulnerable section of society has access to an effective legal delivery system as a matter of routine. Hope that is your Raj Dharma- to have a rule of law and protect the oppressed. If you can do that, all the Meenakhsis’ death will not go in vain and mothers like Usha Ranis will bless you for bringing in Acche Din for Indian women.
By Hari Hara Mishra