A six year old in Uttar Pradesh, India, was brutally raped in a way that has been described as “shockingly similar to the Nirbhaya gang rape case” by NorthEast Now. The girl was raped in a manner that has left her genitals mutilated in a way that doctors struggled to perform surgery on her. Eight teams have been dispatched to find one culprit. Today marks the fourth day of the dispatch, with no advancements to the case. The opposition, synonymous to an automated mail response, has lashed out at the government at how women are not safe under the ruling party. They plan to march to protest.
Are they protesting for the girl, or to get the ruling party flak and to boost up their own vote bank? As always, in the true essence of Indian politics, a rape case will be turned into a political tool where the suffering of the survivor will be drowned by the noises of politicians shoving into the faces of the audiences statistics on which government recorded more rape cases. I don’t think that I need to remind you the ranking of India when it comes to safety of women, or how many rape cases are registered. Another case might be in the making as you read this. It’s so simple, so quick, to ruin the life of a woman in this country.
It is high time the government- be it the Center or the State, that strict laws alone will NEVER be enough. I had the opportunity to ask a question to the former CM of Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Kamal Nath, about why these crimes don’t seem to stop despite the fast track courts and death penalty awarded. He answered that people need to understand why its wrong and should not be tolerated or subconsciously encouraged, and its something that they could only do themselves. While it is true, that rape culture needs to be eradicated from the minds, and awareness has to be inculcated in the culture, isn’t it something the government is obliged to do- isn’t it their job to “govern” the citizens of India?
If I were to apply the same concept to elections, rallying is useless- shouldn’t people know on their own who’s worthy of the vote and who isn’t? What if I were to apply this concept to paying taxes? Its something people should know, right? Then why do politicians go out of the way to rally, to “inform”? Why does the government run awareness campaigns on paying tax on time, to use protection during intercourse, or to have the Aadhar cards made? Shouldn’t all this be innate to the people of India too?
My issue is that the topic of women safety is brought up only when another rape is reported. My issue is that the situation of women in this country is echoed by the scream of another life. My issue is that there is a set standard of “brutal” cases send “shockwaves” throughout the nation. My issue is that enough is not being done. While I am thankful for stricter laws, it it didn’t take me, and many others, to realise that it was not enough. It is time that sex education, the culture of victim shaming-blaming is EXPLICITLY talked about the government. NGOs and activists are doing their best, but when will the government stop shying away? When will we get rid of politicians with backward thoughts? When will the rapists hiding behind their party positions be outed?
Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, who handled the Nirbhaya case, said that there was pressure on the force to kill the accused, or to “throw the accused in front of hungry lions”. He mentioned in the end, “But we followed the law.” These comments were made after the accused in the Priyanka Reddy rape case were shot in an encounter with the police. If this was not a dig, what was? Do people, who, for their sick pleasure are ready to defile the body of an non-consenting individual to the extent that it is fatal be saved by “law”? Where does this following the law agenda go when murders and corruption is buried by the police itself?
The government underestimates the influence it has on the average Indian. We have some extremely influential politicians belonging to many parties, who’s words become gospel. If they can influence people into believing so many of their own opinions, why can’t they use their platforms to raise voice for this? Is talking about rape going against our “sanskriti”? Does “sanskriti” exist in a nation with a pantheon consisting of female goddesses who are used to describe the women population of India (who are praised only at the time of festivals or voting season by those in power) are left helpless when they’re touched without consent? Are we really in the place to talk about decency and “sanskriti” when our entertainment industry earns money by doing the exact opposite by objectifying women? India still remains a country where victim blaming is the easiest way out. India remains a country where marital rape remains legal as turning it into a crime will “create anarchy in families”? (PS former CJI Dipak Misra said this.)
I beg of you, please, be sick and tired. Be tired of what is happening. Please, allow your blood to boil. Please, grit your teeth, cuss what our society has become. Nothing can justify a rape. No single party deserves the blame for the dire condition of the women in this country. Each and every one of them is responsible for failing to stand up for the people of their own country. Be angry, speak, share, and do whatever you can- as little or big, to bring about some change so that we can hope that Indian women, a century from here, suffer less than we do.