This Is What It Means to Be A Woman Under Your Watch Mr Fadnavis
A WOMAN IN MUMBAI
Dear Mr Piyush Goyal and Mr Fadnavis,
Addressing this to both of you, even though I know you will pass the buck. As nothing is your fault, but it is always that of the other. Even that ghastly incident, recorded in a video that has gone viral, where a creep is seen groping a woman pinned under bodies in the Elphonstone bridge collapse, even as she breathes her last. Her hands wave weakly in the air as she dies.
Who was she dear gentlemen? And who was the man groping her? Have you given orders for his immediate arrest? One has not heard from you so one presumes that this incident is of hardly any consequence to you. And perhaps your attitude can be seen in the response given by Niket Kaushik, Commissioner, Government Railway Police when he told reporters, “This case comes under Mumbai Police, but I will also initiate an inquiry.” The usual passing off the buck, a clear statement that nothing will be done when in any civilised society the first effort would have been to track the man down, and arrest him.
There were reports right from the moment of the collapse of an over bridge of women being robbed of their belongings, their purses, their cash, with even jewellery being take off their bodies while they lay crushed, waiting for help. Did you deploy a police force for their protection? Railway police? City police? Was there anyone to ensure that the victims while being rescued were also safe from the vultures who had descended on them? Clearly not? And who knows how many such cases of molestation of hapless women took place, and we do not know simply because these were not recorded on video.
Rape and molestation are becoming part of a society where frustration and anger is growing. Along with a sense of entitlement that the male clearly nurtures along with a sense of impunity coming from an apathetic political leadership, and a compromised police force. Crime against woman, the male knows, does not elicit the response that will ensure his arrest, trial and punishment in record time. He knows that he can get away with rape if he has the connections, but can certainly get away with assault and groping and eve teasing even if he does not.
There is a sickness that is evident in day to day life. Where babies and toddlers are raped, where a young boy is sodomised and killed in his own school, where women are raped and threatened inside so called ashrams, where political legislators watch porn clips inside Assemblies, where incidents of rape are not registered by the cops, where political leaders actually insist that it is the ‘woman’s fault’, where even women in government claim that ‘she asked for it, as she should dress more conservatively, where girl students are attacked by male cops for asking for security with the Vice Chancellors supporting the assault….all this and so much more makes for an India where not a single woman can claim to be secure.
The Mumbai video that has gone viral across the social media is just a demonstration of this sickness that has engulfed society, and sadly cosmopolitan Mumbai as well. Mumbai was considered a safe city by most of us women used to being groped and assaulted on the streets of Delhi. But clearly this is no longer so, with the overall law and order under which goons are given protection, creating its own insecurities for women in Mumbai. And of course Mr Goyal, in trains where even men are no longer safe and women travelling alone even more fearful and vulnerable.
My blood is boiling dear gentlemen, with anger and helplessness. The video of this despicable act reflects also the cowardly impunity of the groper, even as it demonstrates the helplessness and yet independent courage of the woman who protested at the assault even in that condition. It is the image of the Elphinstone bridge tragedy as it reflects your inability to ensure the safety of passengers; and your disinterest and apathy in keeping your womenfolk secure. Even a moron would have realised that women victims were being preyed upon and would have taken immediate measures for their protection, but you gentlemen failed miserably, that makes you completely unfit to occupy the chairs you are sitting on.
That you have not even responded to this terrible incident does not add to your stature, it just reveals the mindset that you clearly share with others in your profession as they dismiss rape by insisting that the women asked for it, or justify it by insisting that women should dress properly.
Signing off with no hope from you. This letter is not to remind you of your duties and responsibilities---that is far from my intention---but to share the terror and the trauma of the girls and women trapped at Elphinstone bridge as they struggled to survive their double ordeal with no help from people like you in government.
Stay in your chairs that have meaning for no one but you,
A Woman Who Will Be Your Nemesis One Day!