Wrapped In Darkness!
From 2012 to 2019… things seem to have completed a full circle in seven years! The journey reached there from where it had begun. What the capital city of New Delhi and then the entire Nation had experienced after the fateful night of December 16, 2012, the southern city of Hyderabad experiences now due to a similar incident that was made to happen on November 28 (2019) night. A young lady was burnt alive after being gang-raped and tortured by some anti-socials. And then, protest rallies rocked India, and a minister’s insensitive comments on the duties of a rape victim triggered a fresh controversy…
Interestingly, the situation had changed after the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape Case, as people expected that security of each and every woman in India would be ensured, and there would be protests against administrative inactivities in such cases. It is to be noted that 2012 Delhi Gang Rape Case involved the rape and fatal assault of a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern, Jyoti Singh. Singh, popularly known as ‘Nirbhaya‘ (or ‘Fearless‘), was beaten, gang-raped, and tortured in a private bus in which she was travelling with her friend, Awindra Pratap Pandey. There were six other people in the bus, including the driver, who had raped the woman and beat her friend. Eleven days after the assault, she was transferred to a hospital in Singapore for emergency treatment, but succumbed to her injuries two days later. The incident had triggered widespread national and international coverage and was widely condemned, both in India and abroad. Subsequently, public protests against the Provincial and Indian Governments for failing to provide adequate security for women took place in New Delhi and other major Indian cities. Nirbhaya’s struggle and death became a symbol of women’s resistance to rape around the globe.
Unfortunately, women are still not safe in India even in 2019. A new Government was formed after the Nirbhaya incident, but the number of rape cases did not decrease! The November 28 incident has proved that the Indian women are still very much insecured, especially at public places. The southern Indian city of Hyderabad woke up on November 29 to the news of a grisly murder, as the charred body of 27-year-old female veterinary doctor Priyanka Reddy was found under a flyover on the outskirts of the city the previous day!
Dr Priyanka Reddy
However, it wasn’t until later on November 29 that the Police said they believed she was gang-raped and killed before being set on fire!
Dr Reddy’s body
Four men were arrested in connection with the crimes on November 30. Then, shock and outrage over the case led to protests, with the concerned authorities suspending three Police officers for allegedly delaying in registering a missing persons complaint. Later, K Chandrashekar Rao, the Chief Minister of Telangana, asked for the case to be heard in a fast-track court in order to ensure a speedy trial. Meanwhile, the four accused in the case of rape and murder of Dr Reddy were killed in an exchange of fire with the Police near Hyderabad on December 6 morning. The Police gunned down Mohammed Arif (26), the lorry driver, Jollu Naveen, Jollu Shiva and Ch Chennakeshavulu (all 20 years of age) after they allegedly made an attempt to flee when they were taken to Chatanpally to reconstruct the crime scene.
The four accused
Before coming to power in 2014, the current ruling party had clearly mentioned in its Election Manifesto that the safety and security of the Indian women would be ensured! It had also blamed the current Opposition party for its failure to protect the women. Since 2012, both the Government and women have been empowered with some tools intended to eliminate heinous crimes, such as rape. Laws, related to rape, have become tougher; Nirbhaya Fund has been created; helpline numbers for women have been launched… and, social awareness about rape has also been increased! Despite all these, women are still insecured in India mainly because of the Police and administration’s irresponsible attitude. It is unfortunate that the parents of rape victims have to visit several Police Stations only to lodge complaints!
The incident with Dr Reddy
Keeping the common people in the dark, seemingly, by being nebulous as to what exactly the explanation to this is or why people are wary about taking refuge to the Laws, and especially why women’s security is still uncertain in India…
Perhaps, the answer to all these questions lies in the toxic myth of male superiority that is constantly being nurtured by the society. As per the myth, women are not only just the property of men, but men also have every right to enjoy female bodies! Naturally, the rape culture is closely connected with this myth! The social and political considerations – which believe that an ideal woman does not step outside of her home, does not wear garments as per her choice, and does not visit anywhere without a male guardian – cannot ensure safety of women even in the 21st Century.
The fact is that laws and rallies in protest cannot protect women! A deep crisis lies in the society, that too, at different levels. The toughest laws are bound to fail, if darkness exists among us…
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