Just when people across the country are trying to come to terms with the dramatic turn of events since a 23-year old paramedical student was gang-raped in the national capital, India witnesses yet another bizarre statement.
Abhijit Mukerjee, son of India’s first citizen Pranab Mukherjee, comes up with a ridiculous view point. He said, “In India, staging candle-light marches, going to discotheques - we did all this during our student life too, we were students too - I know very well what kind of character students should have. Those who claim to be students - I can see many beautiful women among them - highly dented-painted (sic) - they`re giving interviews on TV, they`ve brought their children to show them the scenes. I have grave doubts whether they`re students, because women of that age are generally not students.”
Ever since the 23-year old rape survivor was admitted to the hospital and news of the heinous crime made headlines, people from all walks of life across the nation made it loud and clear that the system could no longer take citizens of the world’s largest democracy for granted. Students, in particular, demanded stringent laws against rapists and were subjected to brutal lathicharge, water cannons and “expired” tear gas in return.
The Delhi Police earned brickbats for resorting to such violent measures to curb the protests; and to cover up their folly, they said that there were anti-social elements in the crowd who had “hijacked” the protests. So they were left with no choice but to act fiercely to bring those “anti-social elements” to book.
But I couldn’t buy the explanation given by the top cops. If a special task police force cannot segregate anti-social elements (if any) from the crowd that had gathered, who else is expected to have a better reading of a criminal!
In what looked like a preposterous comedy of errors, the blame game followed as each segment of the government conveniently passed the buck on to the other. And as a result, common people were left aghast and in complete dismay.
The present state of affairs is in total disarray with what had been expected, and the damage done is beyond repair. The rape victim has been airlifted to Mt Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, but there are yet no signs of any action against the rapists, some of whom have CONFESSED to the crime. And in the wake of a complete mismanagement, yet another woman in the city was gang-raped!
The focus from giving justice to the rape survivor has been vehemently shifted to various other things that perhaps have only led to severe complications. Right from Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde naming students and Maoists in the same breath, to investigating the cause of constable Subhash Tomar’s death, or in the middle of the protests to Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit confronting the Delhi Police Commissioner on the gang-rape episode.
Somewhere down the line, I just feel that the gang-rape episode has been hijacked. The rapists in custody are yet to be sentenced to punishment. And one doesn’t even know the nature of punishment they will be served. Or should I say whether or not they will be handed punishment in the first place!
In a nation like ours, where mother Goddess Shakti is religiously worshipped, daughters of the divine power are being subjected to endless humiliation. India is behaving like a sex-starved nation where women are being treated as second grade civilians. And when ‘educated’ people in power make shaming statements like the “dented-painted” one, I wonder if women in the country will ever get justice and the respect that they deserve.
And before ending this piece, I thought I would protest against Mr Abhijit Mukherjee…but I remembered I am wearing make-up!