Four cruel incidents that took place in India in the second half of October should put all Indians to shame. These events force us to shed our compliancy and introspect deeply what is happening to us as a nation that is proud of its ancient religion and culture. Are we really human beings or are we descending to the level of beasts?
On October 23, a twenty one year old woman was raped by a drunken man in full public view in broad daylight on a busy street in Vishakhapatnam. According to the town police inspector, K Suresh, “Passers-by did not bother to stop him even as the woman was too weak to even scream. Instead, some of them were more interested in capturing the incident on their mobile phones. After some time, an auto driver, RG Srinu, shot a short video of it and brought it to our notice.” The criminal act of the drunken man is to be condemned, but what about the insensitivity of people who watched the scene without lifting a finger to help the victim? These people deserve more condemnation than the one who committed the heinous crime. The video footage shows passers-by overlooking the entire incident and walk away while the man is raping the woman. Even the auto driver did not stop the rape. The insensitivity of the onlookers exposes our hypocrisy as a nation.
Savitri Devi, a pregnant Dalit woman died on October 21 in Khetalpur Bhansoli village of Bulandshahar district of UP, after being beaten up by a Thakur woman and his son for ‘defiling’ their bucket. Savitri Devi, a garbage collector, was doing her job in the village as usual on October 15. As reported in NDTV news, while she was at one of the homes, a rickshaw caused her to lose balance and ‘touch’ a bucket belonging to Anju, an upper caste Thakur. “Anju stormed towards her, punched her repeatedly in the stomach and banged her head on a wall. She kept accusing Savitri of defiling her bucket by touching it. Later, Anju’s son Rohit also joined in and beat her with sticks,” said Kusuma Devi, Savitri’s neighbour who claims she witnessed the “assault”. Six days later Savitri and her unborn ‘son’ died.
It was also reported that when Mr. Dilip Kumar, husband of Savitri Devi took her to the government hospital for treatment the hospital staff refused to see her, as there was no external bleeding. In the same way when he went to the police station to file a complaint against Anju the police did not accept his complaint. After the death of Savitri Devi the police registered a case against Anju and his son, but they could not arrest the culprits.
The third incident is the brutal attack on a Swiss couple in Fatehpur Sikri near Agra on October 22, a day after they visited the Taj Mahal. The couple were chased by a group of four young men for an hour and attacked with sticks and stones. The attack left Quentin Jeremy Clerc with a fractured skull and partial hearing loss, and his girlfriend Marie Droxz with a broken arm.
The latest among the four shameful acts is the one that reminds the nation of Delhi gang rape on December 16, 2012. A 16-year-old girl, who was allegedly gang-raped by three young men in Punjab's Fazilka district, died of excessive bleeding on the night of October 29, according to NDTV News. She remained unconscious for three days after the alleged assault.
In spite of putting in place stringent laws to punish those who sexually abuse women why is there no let-up in the crimes against women? Why the dalits are being beaten up or being killed for no fault of their own? Why is untouchability still practiced even after 67 years of adopting a constitution that provides equal rights, opportunities and dignity to all citizens of India? Why are the human rights being violated under guise of caste and religion? Equal treatment, not only to all individuals, but also to all religions, is the express command of our Constitution. Still citizens belonging to minority religions are targeted and attacked, why?
Even though India has one of the most liberal and egalitarian constitutions in the world, the values enshrined in the constitution have not been imbibed by the people. The common people are not educated about the content and richness of the Indian constitution. The political and religious leaders, because of their vested interests, have deliberately kept the people ignorant of the constitutional provisions. From the time of drafting the constitution of India there has been stiff opposition to the Indian constitution from the Hindu Fundamentalists, particularly the Sangh Parivar. The BJP which is in power at the centre and in majority of the Indian states is the political arm of the RSS. Though PM Modi once stated that constitution of India is the sacred scripture of India, the Sangh Parivar’s ideology of Hindutva is diametrically opposed to the spirit of the Indian constitution. The leaders of the ruling party often speak about converting India into a Hindu Rashtra. Because of the pressure from the Hindutva ideologues the government machinery often fails to protect the right of the individuals, particularly the rights of the minorities and of the weaker sections of the society.
Putting in place laws, however stringent they are, will alone not reduce crimes against women and the dalits. What is required is strict implementation. The police and the bureaucracy often fail in their duty of law enforcement. The criminal justice system in India is so overburdened that it takes years to punish the offenders and give justice to the victims. There are more than 3 crore cases pending in different courts of India and many of these cases are pending for more than 10 years. As a consequence people are losing their faith in the judicial process.
The religions in India in general have failed to instil spirituality in their followers. On the other hand the religions are competing with each other in promoting religiosity in the form of increasing number of worship centres, statues, pilgrim centres, religious processions and rituals. Billions of rupees are being wasted on the construction of huge and expensive worship centres. “In a strange reversal of developments from the West, where religious institutions have seen a decline in income while people have become richer, in India, the gods have become richer while the poor have become poorer”. In other words the religions, because of their greed for power and money, have failed to educate people to make them better human beings.
Along with strict implementation of the laws and overhauling the criminal justice system to ensure quick delivery of justice, people are to be educated to see God primarily in every human person. The realization that God dwells in every human person can lead to respecting all human beings irrespective of their status. The four criminal acts mentioned at the beginning of this write up took place mainly because of the failure to see God in living human beings and respecting them. What the nation needs today is a moral and ethical revolution rooted in the constitution of India. If the followers of all religions accept the constitution of India as their sacred scripture along with their respective scripture and follow the constitutional provisions, India will be a safe place for its entire people, particularly the weaker sections of the society. Any ideology that is exclusive and prejudiced against the minorities and the subjugated castes will only lead to the increase in the crimes against women and the weaker sections of the society. Strict adherence to the constitution of India can prevent the country from the slide to brutality.
firstname.lastname@example.org(Published on 06th November 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 45)