Madhu Purnima Kishwar
Profile of Madhu Purnima Kishwar

Madhu Purnima Kishwar is Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)—a social science research centre, based in Delhi. Director of the Indic Studies Project based at CSDS aimed at the study of diverse faith traditions and cultures in the Indic civilisation. She is the ...

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    Madhu Purnima Kishwar’s Blog
    “I have a horror of all isms, especially those that attach themselves to proper names”.
    -- M. K. Gandhi --
    Posted on: December 26, 2012
    The Lessons from Anti Rape Agitation
    First Published in : Economic Times, December 26, 2012
    image

    Even as the entire country is seething in anger at the brutality of the Delhi gang rape case with daily reports of more and more such barbarous acts coming from all over the country, the Chief Minister of Delhi writes to the Home Minister to order an independent probe into the devious role being played by the Delhi Police in messing up the investigation. The charge is further substantiated by the SDM of Delhi who alleged that she was pressured and threatened by the Delhi Police to abandon video recording of victim’s testimony and instead asked to use a set questionnaire provided by the police to recordthe victim’s responses.

    This after:

    • The brutal lathi charge on peaceful protestors while the agent provocateurs allegedly brought in by NSUI, the student wing of the Congress party to derail the protest movement are allowed to disappear into thin air after disrupting the movement;
    • Draconian measures including strict curfew, suspending metro services and sealing off Central Delhi to prevent protesters from gathering at the few spaces permitted in official Delhi for public gatherings.
    • The deadpan, conviction-less “TheekHai” speech of the Prime Minister on December 24 asking people to avoid violence. It amounted to pouring salt on their wounds;
    • The arrogant, insensitive comments of the Home Minister equating Delhi protesters to Maoists and implying he should not be expected to meet the protesting riff raff;
    • Ham handed arrests of 8 persons by the Delhi Police in a visibly malafide attempt to implicate IAC for the murderous attack on the policeman who died after attack by lumpen elements at India Gate.
    • Lodging of equally malafide FIRs against a former Army Chief and Baba Ramdev on the charge of instigating protestors to violence. 

    All these are clear indications of the total disdain with which the Congress Party treats the people of this country. This arrogance in all likelihood comes from the Party’s miscalculation that all these are effete middle class protests—people who don’t vote  anyways while the “real voters” have been bought over through doles, promise of cash transfers, dreams of free housing, subsidized food, free this-free that.

    As Rahul Baba told his admiring supporters, “The cash transfer scheme will be a game changer. With this you will not only win the 2014 election but also the next election!”

    Clearly Rahul Baba expects that voters will be so addicted to crumb gathering and sarkari dependence that these “begging bowl schemes” will keep the PMs chair safe for him for ever! If he knew some basic economics he would know that in the process the economy would be so wrecked that there will be no money left for crumb throwing, unless of course he manages to persuade all those of his Party who have stashed away in secret foreign accounts humungous amounts of public money they have looted from India to bring back a portion of it to help him keep winning elections through the loyal army of beggared voters.

    Hopefully come 2014, the Congress Party will be jolted out of its complacency and be made to see that the country is in no mood to thank it for transforming Indians into an army of bhikharis!

    Given this conduct, is it any surprise that neither the young protesters nor the millions who are watching this grotesque sarkari drama through live TV coverage are in no mood to listen to bland assurances being doled out to them by the government? We have seen time and again how the police go out of its way to protect criminals and tyrannize innocents because their real income comes from patronizing criminals. The Indian police understand only two codes: a kick from above and a bribe from below. In this case, the rapists are too poor to buy off the police. Families of rapists have openly disowned them.One is therefore forced to ask: Who is then delivering the “kick from above?” The politician who owns the bus fleet that had employed the six rapists and murderers? Or is it that the police are so long addicted to patronising and protecting criminals that it comes as an instinctive response to everyone in the police hierarchy?

    Those demanding that law against rape be made more draconian to include death penalty please take note: Do you want the very same police which dares mess up with evidence even under the 24x7 watchful eyes of the media in a high profile case to be gifted more powers? The likely consequence will be that the bribe rate for tampering with evidence and misdirecting the court will shoot up further. Would you trust a man who routinely uses a lathi to tyrannize innocents with an AK 47? Does it not point to the urgent need for far reaching police reforms as part of a larger agenda of judicial, electoral and administrative reforms to make the law and order machinery transparent and accountable to citizens? Can fast track courts deliver justice if the police are addicted to protecting criminals? Why should every case not be settled within a set time frame?

    On a positive note: I feel very enthused by the fact that in all the demonstrations against this brutal rape in particular and sexual violence in general, we saw young men outnumber women. They have braved freezing cold, lathis, tear gas shells, arrests on trumped up charges which could ruin their careers to make common cause with women. India has a long and unique tradition of men not only spontaneously joining women’s rights movements but also leading them. This is an important reason why we have never witnessed gender war on women’s rights issues as happened in several other countries, including western democracies.

    -------------

    First published by Economic Times (see link: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/guest-writer/delhi-gang-rape-case-some-important-lessons-from-anti-rape-agitation/articleshow/17761070.cms)

     

     

    Comment(8)
     
    Madhu,

    The poor constable, Tomar, was clearly a pawn in all of this. Not even clear whether he was attacked at all, whether by lumpen elements, as you suspect, or 'Maoists' as govt alleged.

    I would dearly love to see his medical records - and would not be surprised if he had a history of heart trouble.

    But we will never know, as Delhi Police will deny access to records.

    Mohit
    Posted By : Mohit, On Date: Wednesday, December 26, 2012
     
    During Raj days all legislation were designed to remind at every interface with adminstration about common man being us and the rulers as they. Both having a distinct perception of rulers and the rules. Even after nearly 6 decades of independence we continue to follow the same colonial laws. Police is not a friendly face of being part of us as all Govt. baboos. It is therefore not surprising to see the callous behavior of police towards our nonpartisan, apolitical young people facing them at India gate. Our political leaders do not derive their strength from natural closeness to masses, and that explains the total presence of any existing leadership to meet the children at face and issue belated political platitudinous statements from their homes and offices.
    Posted By : Subodh Kumar, On Date: Wednesday, December 26, 2012
     
    U r our finest repretentative.bravo. .
    Posted By : vijay Sharma , On Date: Wednesday, December 26, 2012
     
    "On a positive note: I feel very enthused by the fact that in all the demonstrations against this brutal rape in particular and sexual violence in general, we saw young men outnumber women. They have braved freezing cold, lathis, tear gas shells, arrests on trumped up charges which could ruin their careers to make common cause with women. India has a long and unique tradition of men not only spontaneously joining women’s rights movements but also leading them. This is an important reason why we have never witnessed gender war on women’s rights issues as happened in several other countries, including western democracies."

    Most bizarre statement. What was enthusing was that so many young women came out spontaneously braving the weather, the late nights out which are obviously more unsafe for them and without any leaders asking them to. Men have always tried to usurp leadership and control in many situations and most of the violence and arson that happened on Sunday was due to men and not women. Our liberation has come because we have fought for it and not because men have "led " us. Strange thing for the former editor of Manushi to be saying. Or perhaps not.
    Posted By : Asha Gopinathan , On Date: Thursday, December 27, 2012
     
    Rape somewhere belongs to the domains of HUNTING HYPOTHESIS; an athropoligical attribute of the brutal side of the human being. Bertrand Russel has also opined that If Fear is not involved; perhaps each man would like to go for sex with consent or without consent. Fear is the key to control the hunting attitudes of the men all over the world. Rape has to be understood in Indian perspective from multiple perspectives. Crows do not know rules when they attack a dead vulture for their food. An Indian society with own ethos and culture and history; can not allow RAPE to even a 00.001%. Rape has to be prevented come what it may cost the country. Rape is deepest and grace violence against the heart and soul of a woman. The questions are lessons for whom. The answer lies for all; to each section of the society. The architecture of rape is so large country wide; it really appears a gigantic task to really bring it down to zero. But Zero is possible albeit in the long period. The Government of India must give this task of ZERO RAPE to each Society/Each School/Each Office/ Each Building/ Each Village: A Measurable Task to each one. A measurable task to Each Person. Incrementally graded punishments must be set for each strata where the rape could happen. India is no more uneducated society or something. Those who see TV I would consider them Educated. While Education etc. is certainly required right from Schools till all ladders where male human beings walk in the veins of life. The Quality and Quantity of Punishments have to vary: for example rape of a minor by a male over 50 years to be different and more harsh. Higher the age of a male higher controls are expected by the society. Parents/Mohalla persons/ transportation department/ police and various segements have to keep highest controls on the male youth upto 30 years of age. I dont have data on age wise skewed distribution of rapists vis a vis the age of the females; perhaps that could give a direction the gradation/incremental levels of cotrols and punishments. Each one has to play its role. It is very easy to identify in a village who could be the likely suspects for anti social kind of behaviours. Government of India has to assign tasks to each one in this nation including that to the Police. If this lesson is not enough; I shall be compelled to say that all MPs of this nation have no common sense; no urgency to eradicate this most heinous aspect and shape of Indian society; where the victim is solely women for no fault of hers. I liked your analysis. regards.
    Posted By : Dr.B.M.SHARMA, On Date: Thursday, December 27, 2012
     
    Dear Madhuji,

    You have suggested police reforms which in itself is a tedious and long process and also seems to be a dream rather than reailty. I also feel that the wrath of the young generation is very strongly psychologically catalysed by the fact that the hapless couple was brutally beaten as well as thrown into bushes after they were completely stripped. The heinousness of this crime has added fuel to the fire. But may be that the laws are not changed in the heat of anger or so spontaneously, the present case becomes rarest of the rare. In this connection i have an interesting observation that some weeks ago there was a news headline in ToI that 'Rarest of the rare' phrase is too much 'judge centric'. This was w.r.t the death penalty in murder cases. But looking at the immeasurable wrath of the youth against this gangrape event we cant say that 'rarest of the rare' is a judge-cenntric phrase. The people have proved that in such cases it is th people who give a strong verdict that this is the 'rarest of the rare' cases and deserved death penalty. The phrase is therefore 'people centric' in rarest of the rarest rapes. So why not pass a law hurriedly and make death penalty a must for such cases. It may be too much to wait till the whole police system of the male system is reformed or till the Ram Rajya comes. Better act than go asleep and start wseeing the beautiful dream that the police will through reforms become Lord Krishna and provide a long long saree-like protection to hapless victims - prem chand sahajwala
    Posted By : Prem Chand Sahajwala, On Date: Thursday, December 27, 2012
     

    There is a huge truth hidden in the recent incidence of gang rape of 23 year student in a moving bus in Delhi. For decades we, the people, have witnessed the anger, the agony, the humiliation, the physical injury and the mental trauma of numerous rape victims in this ‘holy’ land of ours. To say the least there has never been prompt and exemplary punishment awarded to the perpetrators of such heinous crimes. There is, therefore, no wonder the protests germinated within have culminated into the present spontaneous outrage among the cross-section of people. And true to its nature, the agitation has remained not only within the domain of woman's rights but also has turned into a human war against such a sensitive social crime.

    The fact of Delhi Police's attack on the peaceful protestors at India Gate raises the pertinent question: whether the protector can become a predator? If the appropriate tool to pacify popular demonstration on a sensitive issue like this is not in the kit of the government, how one can expect that a strong Bill to protect women's honour in the country will be passed in the Parliament? In this context you have raised a very important question. To quote : ‘Those demanding that law against rape be made more draconian to include death penalty please take note: Do you want the very same police which dares mess up with evidence even under the 24X7 watchful eyes of the media in a high profile case to be gifted more powers?’

    In fact we have enough of laws and bye-laws of the land concerning this but are those adequate enough to make the punishment exemplary? Are the laws being properly implemented in all the cases of rape? How fast the delivery mechanism of justice does work in our country? The makers ,preservers, and implementers of the laws need to give quick answers to these questions.
    Posted By : Bhaskar Sen, On Date: Thursday, December 27, 2012
     
    I think immediate administrative measures, which can eliminate substantially the harassment that people face in filing FIR and promote safety to commuters in all kinds of public vehicles can be A introduction of an easy to remember mobile help line number through which FIR report can be submitted. Similarly a second help line can be put on dispaly in buses and trains and other public vehicles like taxis and autos to which commuters can inform the bus numbers or vehicle registration number, which police department can monitor and use to track crimes.
    Posted By : Ashim Kumar Chatterjee, On Date: Sunday, December 30, 2012
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