Same story, different response

Delhi incident shocked entire India and that speaks of an alive collective conscience, but one wishes to see the same behavior when the same, or even worse, happens elsewhere

Comment

HASSAN ZAINAGAIRI

Reminiscent of the last years Ana Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign that brought thousands of agitated people on the streets, the bone-chilling rape of a Delhi medical student in a moving bus has evoked fury. The protests are gaining momentum. Huge public demonstrations have been witnessed near Jantar Mantar and India Gate. People gathered at Rashpati Bhavan (presidential palace). That speaks the gravity of the surcharged emotions. Angry protestors blocked Jammu-Pathankot highway demanding capital punishment for the accused. The political class is under tremendous pressure to take some concrete steps in protecting the dignity and honor of the women. Demands to the extent of hanging in public squares have resonated even from the parliament. The entire Indian nation is in shock. It's unprecedented.
 Indian politicians, print and electronic media, intellectuals, student community, women organizations and human rights groups need to be highly applauded for raising their voice against this hideous crime. This is a barometer to gauge that Indian society has not as yet cultivated culture of insensitivity and its conscience has not gone in swoon. Much in line with Bouaziz’s self-immolation in Tunisia in December 2010 which triggered popular uprising sending dictatorial regime packing and heralded Arab Spring, the outrageous gang rape on the wheels is set to induce a domino effect of its sorts which will, one hopes, bring perpetrators to book and ensure women dignity and real empowerment.
   But how sad it is these very powerful institutions and power-wielding persons get cocooned in layers and layers of callous indifference as if they are inhabitants of planet Mars. They keep mum, zip their mouths, plug their ears. When Kashmir reels under more gruesome, more outrageous shocks. This reflects bias, two contradictory attitudes, double-standard and hypocrisy, of course.
 History bears witness that when as horrific acts as Kunanposh Pora or Shopian alleged rape and murder of two girls or Tabinda Gani rape and murder – to cite a few instances among hundreds of rape cases documented by civil society groups – happened, Indian government, news channels, panelists, civil rights champions, all sealed their mouths, drew iron curtains, flagellated ‘zero-tolerance’. While the powerful media ignored them in reporting and highlighting the government lacked will and resolve in bringing the guilty to book and thus  didn’t serve a deterrent.
 The irony is that while the present rape case rattled nation India in raising the pitch for making amendment in the criminal jurisprudence to make laws more stringent and awe-inspiring – that includes death penalty – here in Kashmir already existing ordinary laws were defanged so as to provide impunity to the perpetrators. To mislead the world inquiry commissions were constituted to ‘identify’ and ‘punish’ the culprits but nothing happened. Instead the perpetrators of heinous crimes were elevated to higher positions giving them out of turn promotions, and were encouraged with ‘gallantry awards’, shows how Kashmir occupies mind space in New Delhi.
 That Sonia Gandhi, Sushma Sawaraj, Ambika Soni and Jaya Bachan have led from the front in expressing their pain, anguish, shock and anger on the Delhi incident, and some have fainted in the parliament was all obvious. Such tragedies hyphenate all (and should) irrespective of their political or ideological persuasions. But why that tender feminity always remains frigidly indifferent when even teenage girls and elderly women have fallen to the lusty predators? Manika Gandhi loses her sleep on the ‘plight’ of rabid dogs and wild beasts but doesn't voice displeasure on the traumatized  women of Kashmir.
 As far as those at the helm of affairs at Srinagar are concerned, every one from Dr. Abdullah to Mufti Syed, Azad and Omar have only delivered hollow assurances and false promises of justice.
 This selective approach is a manifestation of how ‘special status’ of Kashmir fetches responses from Delhi. One death or one rape case makes them shocked, the other doesn't ruffle a feather.
 Tail piece: - As high as the authority of Prime Minister tendered ‘apology’ on the role of police that used baton and water cannon to disperse a violent mob protesting on gang rape incident. (Mind no one was killed). We appreciate the PMs humane gesture. But why this “catholicity” from ‘largest democracy’ doesn’t traverse Kashmir as the bullet and tear gases of armed forces pierce through the chests of unarmed protestors?

   (Mail at zainagiree@yahoo.co.in)

Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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