Hathras Case…When Kettle Calls the Pot Black

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Devidas Deshpande

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While Maharashtra government is busy deriding the Uttar Pradesh government over the Hathras incident and its subsequent handling, the former’s record in preventing such dastardly acts is lacklustre. And its handling of such incidents is far more pathetic, from failing in bringing the culprits to justice to shielding them.
The incidents of rape and atrocities against women have reached to such a level that some have dubbed it ‘Rule of Rape. A recent example is of a labouring woman who was raped for a week by her brick kiln owner. In Nagpur district, from where the Home Minister Anil Deshmukh hails, has recorded 3 incidents of rape in the last few days.
Things have come to such a pass that Neelam Gorhe, the Deputy Chairperson of Legislative Council and a prominent woman leader of ruling Shiv Sena, has demanded that women should be allowed to carry arms for their self-defence. Nothing can be more telling of distrust the women have in government.
In the February month this year alone, when there were no restrictions on movement because of Chinese virus, Maharashtra recorded 7 cases where girls or women were burnt alive. These places include Hinganghat, Sillod, Panvel, Mira Road, Latur, Nagpur and Lasalgaon.
The women are not safe even in COVID treatment centres. Rapes, torture or molestations have been recorded at COVID treatment centres in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Panvel, Ichalkaranji, Nandurbar, Chandrapur and other cities. At Badnera in Amravati district, a technician in the government lab collected swab samples from a young woman’s genitalia in the garb of Corona test. A 16-year girl committed suicide after she was gang-raped and a 15-year girl was raped in moving vehicle in Mumbai…these are only some of the recent and prominent crimes that have come to fore.
As the perpetrators of these crimes roam free, the police look the other way. Nay, some of the crimes have been recorded in their names only. In at least two incidents in the past one month, police officers have been accused of forcing their female colleagues to have a physical relationship.
While the unfortunate incident in UP’s Hathraas earned widespread infamy, as much as to the international level, crimes in Maharashtra went unheeded? Why? Did Rahul Gandhi think it ‘the business as usual’ when daughters and sisters in this state, where his party is part of an unholy ruling alliance, reserved all the denunciations for the daughter in Hathras? Were the sufferings in Maharashtra were any less than those daughters who happened to live in the BJP-ruling states?
Here it is worth remembering that a few days after the Nirbhaya case, when UPA was in power at Centre; Sonia Gandhi was asked for her reaction on that heinous crime. She replied that “Rapes happen in every country’. At least, UP’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has not shown such apathy, but his counterpart in Maharashtra has. CM Thackeray has even not set his foot outside his house and earned the nickname of ‘House Rooster’ in collective media. 
Therefore, when CM Uddhav Thackeray and his minions howl at the UP government and especially CM Yogi Adityanath, it is a classic case of the kettle calling the pot black.