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It has been about 5 hours since I wrote my blog about the horrific gang rape and hanging of two young teenagers and my decision to raise my voice against such shameful occurrences till someone finally breaks the deafening silence. Five hours is all it took to be at my post again! Another teenager was gang-raped in the constituency represented by the supremo of the ruling party of the State. She was seventeen. And if that was not enough to get us seething, a rape survivor’s mother was brutally beaten by the father of the rapist because she refused to withdraw the case against his son. This occurred in the constituency of the Chief Minister of the same state, and the son of the aforementioned supremo. No arrest has been made while the woman is battling for her life.

I again want to reiterate that the strong, developed and inclusive India that our new Prime Minister wants to usher cannot begin to see the light of day as long as such horrific incidents continue to happen. Women constitute 49% of the population and if they are not included then India cannot be considered a blessed land!

The Badaun rape case as it seems to be known now seems to have got the attention of one and all. I am not a follower of Antisthenes but a sense of deja vu fills me with despair. I guess sufficient meat to prove my point. What do you say when you hear the Chief Minister of the State where these horrendous rapes have taken place under his watch and in his family stronghold tell a journalist who ask him about the abysmal law and order situation quip: “You’re safe, right? You feel secure?“. Let us not forget that it is the supremo of the same family who said some time back: boys make mistakes. The mistakes he was referring to was rape!

I do not see justice being meted in these circumstances. Some arrests have been made is what the State Government in a report to the centre and the guilty shall be punished. Why do I find this hard to believe?

An article that appeared touches a chord, if not many. It touches upon our reaction to such horrors. I will quote some lines that I found disturbing and yet so true: Sometimes a picture is not worth a thousand words. The photographs of the two Dalit girls, raped and strangled and then left dangling from a mango tree in Badaun have caused a firestorm. On one hand it’s been blasted as the “pornography of rape”. On the other hand, it’s been described as a jolt to wake up a blasé society where rape, especially out in the badlands of UP, is commonplace enough that it does not make front page news anymore. 

There is a point there. We are so inured, so numbed by the never ending horror story of rape that it seems we need to descend ever lower into the pits to be shocked to attention. It’s as if faced with a rape story, the media has to ask the question “What’s new about this one?” Is it a toddler? A foreign tourist? Or now is it the horrific spectacle of these two teenagers hanging from a mango tree while a crowd of villagers including children gawk?

The author ends his article with these terrifying words: If indeed we now need to see the “strange fruit” on our mango trees to be shocked, it begs the question about what kind of people we have become anyway.

These hard hitting words compel us to some serious soul searching. Have we really come down to this or will this photograph be the turning point we so need. Will it at least makes us accept that we have become people who are inured to atrocities as long as they do not touch our own. How many more such horrors will we have to see before we let out the cry that can bring about justice to all girls in our land.

Enough of these band aid and feel good solutions. Sadly our new Minister for women who is a woman herself has gone the usual way. She blames police laxity, and promises to create yet another rape crisis cell. She is also ‘willing’ to ‘recommend’ a CBI enquiry should the parents so wish. Come on what is the willingness and recommendation nonsense. The parents want JUSTICE and want this to never happen to another woman again. We want a Minister who is willing to think out of the box! We are fed up of ‘enquiries’ ‘commissions’ and such other jaded options. We are talking of young girls whose lives were brutally truncated before they even began. The little girl watching the scene must be thinking: is this going to be my fate to?

It is time to take the bull by the horns and to change all that needs to be changed. It is not the purview of one Minister or one department. It is concern of all the 49% of us! We have to get rid of everything that is feudal be it the police, the politicians or the so called feudal lords. We are a democracy. Don’t we love repeating this, so let us be a true one and right every tort.

Let us make these two beautiful girls the turning point and not look back!

It is one of us who could raped.

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