Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Fight-Back member Mahafreed Irani writes about the Mangalore attack and asks some tough questions
A year after two women were molested outside the JW Marriot in Juhu Mumbai, another attack on women. This time, it’s not by sexually-frustrated men trying to grope women. This time, it a group of self-appointed police - The Shri Ram Sena they call themselves.
In the name of God (Lord Ram is a Hindu God), around 40 men openly gate crash into a pub which they believe is the centre of immoral activity. They make their presence (and hooliganism) felt by dragging the women by their hair, pulling them out, tearing their clothes, throwing them on the floor and all things immoral, atleast the civilised world would think so.
All this happens, a day before India’s Republic Day. The country which takes pride in calling itself the largest democracy in the world.
Questions I’d like to ask as a woman and citizen of India:
1. How did the main molester of the JW Marriot incident escape?
2. Should I be scared of going to a pub or night club because I am a woman?
3. In response to the assault on women in the pub, the Karnataka Chief Minister made a statement. But why did he have to read it out? Couldn’t he look up and say what he wanted? Or was he scared? What kind of leaders do we have?
4. 17 of the assaulters have been caught. What about the rest? What about the leader?
5. The leader of the Shri Ram Sena group is Pramod Muthalik. He openly spoke to TV new channels and reporters. Now he is absconding. How did the police not track him down and arrest him? How did he escape?
Some background on Pramod Muthalik:
-He is the founder of Sri Ram Sena. He is a former leader of the Bajrang Dal.
-He has dismissed the pub attack as a “small incident”. He justified the act saying that his men were doing their “duty”.
-His Sena reportedly runs a militant camp and has been blamed for inciting communal violence and also preparing youth to undertake retaliatory acts of terror.
6. Considering there is so much information about him and his criminal-like activities. Shouldn’t the police have kept an eye on him and his whereabouts?
7. Wouldn’t this issue die out without the media highlighting it? Why do the cops and politicians blame the media for hyping it? Do they not have any sense of regret or shame?
8. How did the gang of men enter the pub?
Mahafreed Irani is a journalist working with Times of India. Before which she was heading the "Speak Up" section of DNA. She's also a passionate Fight-Back member.
You can read more from Mahafreed at www.mahafreed.wordpress.com
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Not surprisingly India is pissed! And so is the blogosphere.
Vincent Van Ross on topangle.instablogs says, "I am a great fan of cricket and I still consider it a gentleman’s game notwithstanding the indiscretions the game has suffered in recent years. It would be a disgrace to the game of cricket to call these alleged rapists—cricketers."
Wizard prince at wizardprince.sulekha.com says,
"her real trauma and character assassination started afterwards as thousands of villagers and local political groups started supporting the rape and blamed the girl for provoking the boys by wearing modern clothes and by getting involved in physical intimacy in the car with her male friend. What is even more ghastly and disgusting is the fact that the village women especially the family members of the ten accused justified the rape and said the girl should be killed for doing things that provoked innocent young boys."
Editorials have been, justifiably, scathing. Hindustan Times says, the issue cannot be "wished away"
"It is true that sarpanch’s comment is shocking, but it does not come as a surprise. Remember the Bhanwari Devi case and the judicial officer’s comment that the rape could not have possibly taken place because no upper caste man would ever rape a lower-caste woman? Prejudices run deep in feudal India. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that it is a rural affliction. The urban pockets of the country are also known to brush such heinous crimes under the carpet. However, the issue of rape cannot be seen as just a law and order problem. The culprits get away because of a mindset that does not see crimes against women as unacceptable. In fact, those five words from the Garhi Chawkhandi village sarpanch prove once again that unless and until our attitude towards women changes, there will be more incidents like the one that happened in Noida."
The Hindustan Times editorial reiterates what we keep talking about most of the time - CHANGE OF MINDSETS. Sensitization programmes, spreading awareness, debating issues and more!
The landscape's changing, laws are getting tougher, fast-track courts are in action but mindsets are stuck far behind in the past.
Despite Noida's shiny malls, fancy cars and IT parks... it took just five words from one of the locals to shake us off our illusion that women are liberated in today's India - "It was just a rape"