Delhi gang rape and the unanswered questions

A 23-year-old was gang raped and thrown on a flyover, bleeding and shivering; she is not yet out of danger.

Kunal Anand December 21, 2012
A 23-year-old paramedical student, along with her male friend goes out for a movie on a leisurely Sunday evening (December 16, 2012) in South Delhi (arguably, one of the most “posh” areas of New Delhi, and therefore ,the safest.) They come out at around 8:30pm from the theatre, take an auto till Munirka (another posh locality.) While they look for another auto to take the girl home, a private bus stops by. The driver asks them where they are headed to and says that he is going in the same direction. The unsuspecting duo board the bus.

There are various versions of what happened next.

I will skip to the part which puts the entire humanity to shame and makes seasoned terrorists look like saints. Six people - the driver and his five friends beat up the guy. When the girl tries to defend him, they beat her mercilessly,  rape her one by one for hours and finish their abominable act by assaulting the poor girl’s private parts with an iron rod, leaving her ribs broken and her intestine so badly damaged that the doctors have had to cut it out as it had turned gangrenous.

They then dumped the duo, almost naked on a busy flyover, bleeding and shivering in Delhi’s December cold. All this happened while the bus drove for maybe an hour or so, through one of the most ‘secure, influential’ localities of New Delhi. Three PCR vans with nine police personnel didn’t find it even a little strange as to why the bus took several U-turns around the same road.

The battered duo lay on the flyover for almost an hour. No motorist cared/dared to help them. After all, it’s Delhi, where many thieves play such ‘pranks’ on the road to loot the innocent motorists.

The typical police arrived typically late, took the boy and the girl to hospital and issued the typical response-“We will nab the culprits.”

The girl has passed into coma six times and she is not yet out of danger.

Five of the six accused have been arrested. Sonia Gandhi has visited the victim while Delhi’s chief minister, Sheila Dixit has assured to take strict action against the guilty.

The response:

There is a huge outcry In Delhi and other major Indian cities.  Candle light marches, rallies and placards have sprung up. Facebook and Twitter is abuzz with demands of ‘public stoning, hanging and castration of the rapists’.

The parliament was rocked on this issue with MPs demanding the strictest possible punishment and also questioning Delhi government’s commitment to make women of the city feel safe.

Delhi police has promised to crack down on vehicles with tinted glasses.

Today, while on my way to office, I could clearly see the increased police presence on the roads.

Now, the questions: 

Do you really believe this incident will change anything?

This isn’t the first rape case in Delhi. The capital city has been infamously dubbed as the rape capital of India. With the kind of shoddy police work you see around here, this sadly won’t be the last one. I won’t talk about the government’s commitment and opposition’s demands. I know you have better ways to waste your time. When someone puts his status update as-“There are only two women safe in Delhi- Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dixit.”, you know it’s not a joke, but a frightening truth.

But, what’s more frightening is our well-rehearsed response. Every time a tragedy strikes, there are candle light marches, shouts of “Hang ‘em”, TV discussions, blog posts, and heated discussions at the chai (tea) shop. A few days of heightened security and then, back to square one.

How about we do something different this time around? How about instead of looking for solutions outside, we look inwards for problems?

I ask all those motorists who are braving the cold at India Gate shouting slogans in support of capital punishment, “Would you have picked up that naked girl and the bleeding boy that Sunday night?”

I dare them to reply in affirmative.

First, the fear of getting robbed by a con, second the fear of being questioned and harassed by the police, and third, the tension of answering hospital queries and filling forms. If a hundred cars passed without helping those poor kids, don’t try to fool yourself by believing that you would have done something different.

I ask the policemen sitting in those PCR vans,
“What does the government pay you for?”

At times, it’s hard to believe that those fat bellied constables and insanely haughty officers had once taken an oath to serve this country. People have accepted that bribe is a perk that comes with most government jobs. Nobody bats an eyelid when the ‘poor’ traffic constable makes a few extra bucks on the chilly winter evening. But is it too much to ask for to perform their most basic duty-being attentive? Any man with an IQ of a 12-year-old would have found the activities of that tinted glassed private bus suspicious, but not our trained policemen.

I ask all the men, What have the womenfolk done to deserve such atrocities all over the world at our hands?  Why are we so unfair to half of the humankind? When and how did they wrong us? What right do we have to subjugate and punish them for our mental sickness and false chauvinism? “How zealous are we in punishing and killing those who disrespect our God or country. How shameless are we when we shoot a 15-year-old for wanting to study or rape a 23-year-old who is studying miles away from home, in hope that someday, she can support her old parents and finance her brother’s education.

It’s not Islam or Hinduism, but the entire womenfolk that is in danger. They care for us; they listen to our rants, bear our kids, and even earn their own bread to ease our financial burden.

And what do we offer them in return? We decide what they should wear, who they should talk to, in fact, whom they should vote for!

One of the biggest failures of the modern society is its inability in making the world a safer place for women folk. Rapes, molestations, harassment at home and work know no territorial or cultural boundaries. While the guilty of such crimes should be handed out the severest punishment, let’s not evade the bigger question - 'why have women been so marginalised and exploited and what should be done to change the mentality of men?'

I find myself incapable of a perfect answer to this question. I feel there is no single perfect answer. Therefore, I turn to you, I turn to us. Together, can we find the reason? Can we find the answers?

Read more by Kunal here, or follow him on Twitter @kunal_anand1
Kunal Anand An IT engineer by profession and a writer by choice, Kunal tweets as @kunal_anand1
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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