Saturday, July 14, 2012

130. Molestation in Guwahati

The recent incident of molestation of a young girl in Guwahati has rocked the nation. During evening hours when streets were far from deserted, about 20 people pounced on a hapless girl and kept molesting her for half an hour while passers-by looked the other way. This is unbelievable. This is a blot on the image of Assam where women are treated with respect and dignity. The incident also brings into focus a few issues.

Media is a big driver of action today. For a couple of days after the incident took place, there was not much uproar. It became a national issue only after the video of the incident was uploaded on Youtube. Once this happened, everyone started condemning the incident and the State Government ordered an inquiry.I suspect that incidents like this or worse may be happening elsewhere also, but may be going unreported at least in the visual media which is capable of mobilising public opinion and forcing action. Will women of this country get justice only if media takes up their issues ? Will they be forced to suffer humiliation otherwise?

The uploading of video on social networking sites itself raises issues. Is it necessary to bring graphic pictures of  humiliation of a girl in public domain. In rape cases, the victim is not even identified. In molestation cases, the victim can not only be identified, but the video of her molestation can also be circulated. Is it correct? True, the video helped police identify the culprits,but perhaps, it would have been better to use the video only for the purpose of nabbing the culprits. In that case, it might have been difficult to mobilise public opinion to this extent. This is a dilemma that is not easy to resolve.

In Guwahati, it was not just a couple of persons but 20 people who pounced on the girl. Reports are that many passers-by also joined them. Many others indirectly encouraged the molestation by doing nothing about it. This brings out the barbaric and savage side of human beings. They are capable of touching the lowest depths as part of a group. They can kill, beat , humiliate and molest. The same people can behave totally differently in a different group. As part of another group, they can condemn killings, humiliation and molestation.

It is very difficult to remove this duality of human character. As a society, we must inculcate zero tolerance for such incidents. Culprits should be given heavy and swift punishment. They should be socially boycotted. They must be brought to book even if there is no media pressure. Women must also feel emboldened enough to report such incidents.

If a woman can be molested for half an hour on a busy street by 20 people in the biggest city of the North East, one shudders to think what might happen elsewhere. This single incident must have shaken the confidence of women of the country. They must be feeling very apprehensive about their safety and security. The 20 villains of Guwahati have not just molested a young girl. They have committed a far bigger crime.


Bikramjit said...

Very true sir, the video should have made sure not to show the humility of the girl.. it should have been avoided

and media well in india we know how media works ..

I can understand about what shud happen to the people who did this BUt what about those who saw the show and did nothing .. what shud happen to them .. are they not guilty of watching this and maybe having fun too

basically sir we as a nation need to change

I hope we as a nation know and understand this all ..

Open letter to all - Bikram's

R. Ramesh said...

bik has said it perfectly right sir..