Paraded naked-again! State traits or a shameless Ramazan special?
The other day while surfing the television I tuned into a channel where Ramazan special programme was underway, the host was telling the audience that as Muslims we should be very careful about how we treat women, not only in our homes but also in our society, we should respect them, treat them with great dignity and only then the society will flourish and become tolerant.
He also quoted examples from the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in which the Prophet (pbuh) had emphasised the role and status of women by his actions and sayings. After delivering these lines, the host went on to take a commercial break.
As I had no interest in wasting my time watching commercials, I switched channels, thinking that as a major percentage of our society follows these religious scholars/hosts, such programmes are the need of time and such issues should be highlighted more; maybe this could help in ending the domestic as well as society based victimisation of women in our country, I naively thought.
The breaking news on one of the news channel, however, shattered all my hopes for ending the plight of women in our society and as my eyes followed the ‘Breaking News’ ticker, I could not stop myself from gasping aloud. The news coming in was from the district of Muzaffargarh where two women were paraded naked and the whole incident was recorded on mobile phones by the culprits .
According to the news, two culprits were arrested while police looked for others. The incident took place when a woman and her sister took a marriage proposal to a girl’s place who her son liked, this was not taken well by the girl’s family and after torturing the woman and her sister they forced them to parade naked. These were elderly women, old enough to be our mothers. The incident made me sick.
It does not matter what led to this horrible incident , what matters is why did this incident happen in the first place? Why do our people have to stoop down to such a level of inhumanity and heartlessness to express their dislike for something? I don’t understand why people in our country, cannot practice tolerance. Wasn’t there any other way the girl’s family could have expressed their dislike other than by dehumanising these women? And to add to the misery and humiliation experienced by the women the culprits recorded the whole horrible incident on their mobile phones as well.
The other major question is that how do people turn into such animals or what pushes them to step over all lines of decency and humanity? How do they become so shamelessly fearless?
The answer is the lack of deterrence. In the past we have seen that culprits are never arrested, if they are then they are released for lack of evidence. Our society is too afraid of the culprits or just indifferent to such acts of inhumanity to play their part by testifying against the criminals so that when, and if by luck, the cases are taken to courts the criminals aren't granted acquittal because of the lack of evidence or their connection with influential and powerful people.
Moreover someone who dares to testify is threatened by the criminals or fake cases are made against them and they are subjected to an even worse fate.
The police and state have failed in providing victims or the witnesses safety leaving them on the mercy of these culprits. Until and unless the police and the state are sincere enough to take steps to stop the criminal’s influence, until the judiciary is powerful enough to act independently in such cases, no one will come forward to testify to provide the court with enough evidence to convict the criminals. And as long as criminals are not awarded punishment, even the sermons of the scholars about the dignity and respect of women will not help in ending the plight of the women in our country.
It’s a ‘now or never’ situation for the government, and it must take immediate action to not only formulate policies but also act upon them to end criminal influence and to ensure witness safety to make it possible for them to testify without the fear of consequences. This should be done so that no more criminals are acquitted or released due to the lack of evidence or influence of the powerful criminal segment of our society.
Unless justice is not served, the country will only sink into an abyss of atrocities and inhumanity finally leading to the complete destruction of this society and God forbid , this country.
Follow Saman on twitter @SsamanJay