The casual manner with which she was treated and the devilish manner in which they played with her identity and dignity is humanly inconceivable. It sounds like a story from a different world where humanity has been treated with irreverence. The appetite for sex, the hunger for violence, the position of the empowered and the attitude of perversity, to say the least, are bound to shock the collective conscience which knows not what to do.” – Supreme Court of India while delivering the Judgment in the Nirbhaya Case (Mukesh & Anr Vs State for NCT of Delhi & Ors on May 5, 2017)
Another heinous crime against a woman at Hathras in Uttar Pradesh and we have witnessed another round of outrage and mayhem and one more display of vulture journalism and irresponsible politics. A nineteen-year girl has lost her life is a fact. In her last statement, she has named four people with the allegation of rape is also true. The administration could have handled the situation better is also a valid argument. But, the kind of vulturism displayed by media and political parties is shocking. The conspiracy angle unfolding in the post-incident scenario put a huge question-mark over our collective consciousness.
As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, 2020, A total of 4,05,861 cases of crime against women were registered during 2019, showing an increase of 7.3% over 2018. Out of these, 32,033 cases are related to rape. States like Rajasthan, Kerala, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Assam are on the higher side when it comes to the rape cases reported. Reporting is higher in these states can be a logic for some intellectual perverts, but that does not alter the fact that the crimes are happening. The rationale that the spread of education, urbanisation or lesser gender gap for reducing the crime against women does not hold as all these states are at different levels of indices on these parameters. So the malaise is deeper and irrespective of State and the ruling party, women safety and security, is a harsh reality of society.
Whether international media houses and other countries should comment on this situation is another question which we will have to deal with consciously. What is the crime rate there in proportion to the population is the counter-question we should raise while addressing the problems on the domestic front. A category of opportunists within our country, who run their shops on international funding and use these numbers to brand Bharat as ‘rapistan’, is another set of problem. While being pragmatic and open-minded about our societal issues, we should not allow such biased media and so-called developed countries to intervene in our national affairs.
Using such incidents for the TRP based media war, political mobilisationand fomenting caste or communal riots is even more ominous trend. Anti-national elements and organisations like Popular Front of India (PFI) who align themselves with the Islamic State kind of mindset and values are always ready to further their agenda of radicalisation and division. All political parties and media houses while raising all the questions related to a particular case must show empathy and commitment to the cause rather than being self-serving.
No amount of selectivity will help in resolving the crisis that the Supreme Court of Bharat spoke about while delivering the verdict in the Nirbhaya Case. The question is of our dampened collective consciousness and degeneration of values in the society. The trend of Commodification of women has to stop, and men have to come forward in this process. Mothers have to be more conscious in this regard while upbringing their children, especially boys. We should stand united in such cases for the victims and against the perpetrators. Crime against women is a national issue, and we have to address the same with utmost ‘sensitivity’ and responsibility. ‘Selectivity’ based on political agenda will only worsen the situation, not for any specific state or political party but the entire nation.