Shocking, the extent to which the demonstraters in Delhi have lost their mental balance. What was once a noble fight has suddenly become a lowly brawl. What was once a gathering of “revolutionaries” has quickly become an assembly of rowdies. What was once a soulful and peaceful demand for justice has long transgressed into the territory of violent injustice. The murder of constable Subhash Tomar, killed for no fault of his, has changed everything . There is blood on the hands of the demonstrators.
What was constable Tomar’s fault? That he was fulfilling his duty of maintaining law and order as ordered by his superiors? That he bravely went about doing his job even in the face of violent attacks from some of the protesters. The pictures in the papers yesterday bared it all. People pelting stones, overturning cars, attacking public property, and even provoking, taunting, abusing and physically assaulting the cops. If anyone has been arrogant in the last few days, it is certainly not the Government but these misguided “free radicals” who have made it a habit to descend onto the streets. They have now become the “mujahideen” of the Indian middle class who move from one cause to another without really having any understanding of any.
For if they did understand, they would have been satisfied long back. Their demand for a more stringent law has already been conceded. But the law cannot be made on the streets no matter how hard the protesters demand. It has to be made in Parliament and everyone from the PM to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to the Home Minister have already committed to “quick” changes. I worry about anything done quickly in our country. For, often, the pendulum of law swings from one unfair extreme to the other. We saw that in the case of Section 498 (a) of the Indian Penal Code, introduced to protect women harassed for dowry, but which soon became the most handy tool for women to batter their in-laws with. I worry about how many rape-accused in the future will first be treated like convicted criminals and subjected to humiliation before they somehow manage to prove their case.
It is of course way beyond the pea-sized brains of these demonstraters to comprehend that any justice, like demanded in this case, has to be delivered by the judiciary and not by the politicians, against whom they are raising slogans. Maybe, they would be better off demonstrating before the High Court and the Supreme Court where thousands of similar cases are lying unattended. The High Court has now said it will set up fast track courts, but what prevented it from doing so uptil now? I am told that in Mumbai, where a similar fast track court was set up last year to hear the Reuben and Keenen murders (when they tried to protect a girl from eve teasers), even a chargesheet has not been filed. But who can explain this to the demonstraters?
It is also impossible for these hare-brained loose cannons to understand that death cannot be a solution for every crime. Several women’s organizations have themselves argued against death in rape cases, fearing rapists may go even further and murder the woman to destroy any evidence against them. If we gave the death penalty for every crime (remember Anna wanted death for corruption also), India would soon resemble Talibanised Afghanistan. Its time these bunch of louts is shown their place. Like everyone else, I too have a complaint against the cops. But my complaint is not that the cops have been too harsh; it is that they have not been harsh enough.
If only the crowds had a little concern for the poor girl, they would have heeded the request of at least her father to stop the violence. The poor man hasn’t lost his composure even in the face of extreme tragedy, but these protesters are finding it impossible to maintain theirs. The poor girl is already a victim of violence; what will the protesters achieve by inflicting more violence? And violence against whom? There is no one denying them anything. Everyone is on the same side. The demonstration is now without a cause.
Delhi in now witnessing a second chapter of shame. For if there is one scourge that is even more prevelent in Delhi than rapes, it is the cult of aggressive machismo. The preference for brawn over brain. The penchant for abusive language. Delhi has to give up such conduct if it has to be considered a modern city. Moderation and tolerance are critical ingredients of modern, cosmopolitan cities.
What would be right to do now is for the protesters to go back home; and if possible say a prayer for Constable Tomar. His death was completely unnecessary. Before the situation becomes any more messy, the curtains must be drawn on this unfortunate act.
The real truth is that Delhi has been held hostage by inimical elements over the last several days. Everything has a perfect timing to end; that moment has long been crossed for this particular protest….