Mass molestation of women on Bengaluru’s most important streets -MG Road and Brigade Road-during New Year revelry, is a week-old story. Even as the public outrage is still on, come reports of a 24-year-old woman molested in Baghpat (UP) by four men who also chopped off her ears for resisting rape and of molestations heralding 2017 even in Delhi and many cities..
The Times group, especially its news channel Times Now has started a campaign to ‘Stop the Perverts’. Karnataka Home Minister G.Parameswara’s first reaction was that it was no big deal, women dressing like that do get harassed on such occasions. Then, after the usual “I have been misquoted” routine, he said the molestation was a deliberate bod to bring a bad name to Bengaluru, one of the few global cities in the state.
Taking a cue from him some people went haywire on WhatsApp claiming it was an attempt by “outsiders” to defame Bengaluru. So they want all outsiders kicked out to make Bangalore a global city! Perhaps they would say next that ‘fight perverts’ drive was only an attempt to grab TRPs.
Then some ‘discovered’ suddenly that some fringe elements in the ‘Sangh Parivar’ of BJP had opposed Valentine Day years ago by beating up those celebrating it. So the December 31 night incidents must be the handiwork of the ‘Sangh Parivar’, they decided. Of course the dynasty followers are all saints.
Some media must have, perhaps rightly, felt that others were too harsh on the police. One commentator asked if all the 1500 police personnel were just blind. Did what they saw not amount to “credible evidence” which the Police Commissioner wanted? An online newspaper tried to make out that there was no molestation at all!
Police personnel did help some of the victims. After all they too are human. Definitely more human than the two-legged animals who watched a woman being molested and did nothing. The policemen were being blamed for the top cop’s absurd statement. Perhaps just hours old in his new posting, he too had commented without much thought. Or, as is common, he just wanted to echo his political bosses’ thinking.
But what Socialist Party leader Abdul Aziz said was not without much thought. It was thoughtless.It was not the first time he blamed the victims for being raped . He not only justified his comments on the Bangalore incidents but reiterated them. His son went one step further and put it even more crudely.
Did not their leader, ‘Netaji’ Mulayam of Socialist Party jusify rapes by saying “boys will be boys”? So it is not surprising that four UP “boys” molested a woman and chopped her ears. They know ‘Netaji’ defended them. The police did the same by not registering the case till the media took it up. The MP from Baghpat, not only a BJP man but also an ex-cop, first denied the incident and then raised the question of delayed complaint.
So Virat Kohli, Akshay Kumar, Javed Akhtar, Anushka Sharma and others lending their voice to the ‘Fight the Perverts’ campaign of Times Now were all outsiders who wanted to defame Bengaluru or members of the Saffron brigade!. Or just publicity mongers.
As Kohli and Akshay Kumar said, not only those who groped and molested the women but also those who watched silently are equally to blame. For decades our leaders have been trivialising the issue of women’s safety with the result that in Karnataka only one in 100 cases of rape/molestation results in a conviction.
And for every case registered scores go unreported or, as in the Baghpat case, police side with the predator. If they happen to be influential, the whole case is suppressed. We know people who mistreat women or demand dowry but still do not socially boycott them. In the North khap panchayats ‘stop hukka pani’ of families for smaller offenses but ignore rape, molestation, dowry harassment and domestic violence. Even worse, the victim is blamed.
How many will say, “I will not invite you, socially interact with you or share a meal with you,” to people who mistreat women?
Are we a nation of perverts?