FROM THE MARGINS, PERSONAL

INSENSITIVE PEOPLE, INSENSITIVE MEDIA AND INSENSITIVE SOCIETY

Animals don’t molest, its human who do it. Thus calling the people involved in the heinous crime of molesting a girl in Guwahati on Monday night-‘INHUMAN’ would just mean giving a highly status to humans which they don’t deserve. The incident is a mere reflection on the unprecedented levels men and the society has degraded today.

The incident is a clear reflection of a society we live in. Today, just acknowledging that public spaces have become increasingly unsafe for women would just be an exaggeration. In fact, these spaces have become ‘exclusively men’s spaces’, with no place for women in it. And the society is busy in ensuring that it continues to remain so. A look at the comments to the articles reporting about the incident visibly mirrors the attitude of the society towards the victims of such incidents. One such comment captured my attention where a ‘gentlemen’ after commenting that the culprits be booked, goes on to adding, “Apparently, this incident should at least open the eyes of those girls/women frequenting the PUBS/BARS till late of the nights and become a lesson to be learnt, lest the repercussions would go a long way in shadowing their brightening lives for their penchant for instant pleasures”. It is under such notions in society that crimes against women perpetuate. It is also interesting to note, how the government and legal agencies to address such problems. Rather than booking the culprits, they get busy shutting down bars, restaurants, removing sun screen films from cars etc.

The journalists who were busy filming the incident, while the mob carried on their atrocious act are equally to blame. In their hunt for ‘masala news’ they chose to film it rather than keeping their cameras aside and protecting the victim. If it was not enough, the news agencies unashamedly claim that ‘had they not captured the incident, it would not be come into front and the culprits could not have been booked’ as if they fail to realize, had the journalists group intervened the whole incident would never have happened and the girl and her family would not have to undergo such trauma. The media agencies have gone a step ahead and publicly announced the identity of the victim and her parents in the news adding to the distress of the family.

On Friday evening, an odd group of about 50 people under the umbrella of ‘Citizens Collective against Sexual Assault’ had gathered outside the Assam Bhavan to protest against the monstrous act and demand that Assam government book the culprits as soon as possible. Within minutes of their arrival and sloganeering, a huge convoy of policemen had already gathered to ensure that the protesters don’t indulge in something ‘illegal’. And then there was the sudden downpour, but the group defied the rains and continued to protest. They also submitted a petition to the resident commissioner of Assam to take the necessary actions. After about an hour of sloganeering and discussions, the group dispersed with a hope- A hope that the appropriate actions will be taken against the culprits. But moreover, with a hope that the government of India will wake up to take action to make public spaces safer for women.

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