Sunday, December 23, 2012

Everything except justice for rape victim on minds of protesters at India Gate….

The protests in Delhi have lost direction. No one knows what is going on. The protesters rant about wanting justice for the rape victim, little knowing that everyone who matters has already agreed to that. There are peaceful protesters who complain about police excesses, shielding those within them who took to violence. There are politicians taking advantage of the situation with an eye on the forthcoming state elections, not willing to acknowledge their own pathetic track record in states ruled by them. In this jamboree, the only one forgotten is the rape victim, even though no one will admit it.

What do the protesters want? That the laws be amended so that punishment for rapists is increased. Who are they demanding this from? The Government right? The Government has already responded with the Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde reassuring them that he will do so. He has also set up a 3-member committee to look into the laws, setting a 30 day deadline for recommendations, and has suspended 4-5 cops who could be accused of de-reliction of duty (even though I don’t understand how they could have prevented the rape inside one of the thousands of buses that roam the streets of Delhi). Then there is Sheila Dixit who has said that her government will make sure the girl gets the best treatment anywhere in the world. Then there are Sonia and Rahul Gandhi who have said that they were equally appalled and that action will be taken soon. And lastly, there is the PM who is personally monitoring the situation and who also has assured the people of speedy action. What else can any government do? Enact the law by the evening, and get it passed by the assembly of people out there at India Gate? Honestly, this is one movement in which there is no “other side”. Everyone is on the same side. And yet the protests continue.

Then there is this demand of death for the rapists. What does the crowd want? That the rapists be gathered at India Gate and publicly hanged? Or maybe, shot by a battery of guns? Without waiting for the courts to pronounce the verdict??? C’mon, this is the most pathetic of all demonstrations I have seen.

Then there is this charge that the police misbehaved and acted in a heavyhanded manner. Well, at least one opposite view from someone who was at India Gate is that the police have actually been very restrained. The protesters have been intentionally baiting them. They are showing them bangles and asking them to wear them (now who will tell these jokers that this itself is an attack on womanhood; now you know why I say that the girl has been forgotten). They are abusing them. And the cops are still not reacting. It’s when the crowds turn violent – and males start eve teasing girl protesters (can you believe it???) – that the cops are acting. If they didn’t act, and if some protesters got injured (or god forbid, die), the cops would be blamed for inaction. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t. This is unfair.

The protests are being fanned by a media eager for TRPs. What better to show on TV on a lazy wintry Sunday than thousands of protesters pelting stones at the cops? All TV channels were giving back to back coverage in an acute reminder of the Anna days. After that movement had ended, many TV editors had agreed that they had probably gone overboard. But its obvious now that no lessons were learnt. The competitive nature of TV journalism makes sure that sensationalism is at the core of any story; with editing adding more drama (By the way, did anyone read the story that the News Broadcasters Standards Authority – a self regulatory body of news broadcasters – has fined CNN IBN for sensationalism and presenting untruthful facts in the Haryana land “scam” in which the Gandhis were accused of pocketing a huge parcel of land).

The internet was rife with anger. But anger about what? No one know what’s going on, so they are commenting about things that have already been addressed. That the government should meet the people. Well everyone has met the demonstraters. That new laws should be enacted, not knowing that even under the current laws, the courts can pronounce huge penalties as in the case of the Kerala madrassa teacher-rapist who has been given 22 years in jail. The butt of many jokes were Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, but why? Clearly, politics was dominating the internet as well.

There is no doubt in my mind that Delhi has become a city of “free radicals” – protesters willing to protest for anyone and available for hire. I can bet this was the same crowd that one saw at Anna’s movement. Suave, English-speaking, well-dressed NGO types. They hog TV screens and amplify incidents beyond reality, unashamedly presenting a one-sided picture; their side. The truth is of no concern to them. Everyone is on adrenaline shots.

The usual rabble rousers are there in the hundreds. BJP politicians, forgetting that the rape capital of the country is really not Delhi, but their very own Madhya Pradesh (ruled by the BJP for nearly 10 years now). The Aam Aadmi Party which has been losing steam and which found this to be a great opportunity to be seen. The Ramdevs who cannot not be seen where there are so many TV cameras. And oh yes, the latest conscience keeper of the country, General VK Singh. Pathetic. Its nothing but plain politics. And of course, no one cares for the girl.

The demonstraters have now started turning violent. Not only have they attacked the cops (one of them is critical and several others seriously injured. See the pic of a stone pelter on Indian Express’s front page), they have also been attacking public property (that’s why the Delhi metro was shut; not to keep the crowds out as some cynics were suggesting). Prompting Vir Sanghvi to tweet that damaging public property was no way of showing empathy for the rape victim. But there were the usual agent provocateurs. The Anupam Khers, who can’t wait to see the back of this government. The Pritish Nandy’s who say that this goes beyond the rape. Its about this “deaf and dumb” government. That explains the politics behind these demonstrations doesn’t it? The Kiran Bedis who haven’t forgotten the snub of last year’s. And so many more. All out to push their own agendas. With no one caring for the rape victim herself.

The real truth is that the protests in Delhi have become completely meaningless. No one cares for the raped girl. She’s just become an excuse. This is a display of the most pathetic underbelly of India. Worse that the rapists even. Shameful….

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