Political Shades of Rape

NewsBharati    02-Oct-2020   
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Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra on way to Hathras

What has happened to our society? Why does a rape evoke less empathy but more political voyeurism? Where is our sensitivity as a society and as a state? Police remain insensitive and avoid registering crimes against women despite new laws and persistent push from the governments to take immediate cognizance.

Let me for the time being discount the report that there was only one person who killed the Dalit girl in Hathras, and that there was no complaint of gang rape or rape in the initial reports. Let me assume that what the media says is correct. I am disturbed as anyone with the news that a hurried cremation was conducted of the poor girl who not only suffered in life but also in death. I think it deepens the cruelty of crime.

But, why can’t rape be treated as inhuman cruelty against women that needs fast and strictest punishment? Why there are different shades of rape?

Two rapes happened on the same day in the same state. I am deliberately choosing from the same state so I am not accused of ‘whataboutery’. Hathras became a national issue, but the Balrampur case of gang rape remained as a small news item! Was it because of the caste of the rape and the religion of the rapist in two different cases? Why no leader rushed to Balrampur, why no media went to Balrampur? If caste and religion are not the reason then why is only Hathras being discussed, why are politicians are queuing up only for Hathras?

Playing caste politics on every tragedy is so common that an earlier Dalit rape by OBC boys (of ‘Boys will be boys' fame”) was filmed, the rapists were changed to Brahmins. This is perversity selling as creative freedom, a perversity that tries to create hate. For me, it is “Why”, not “What about?”

hathras_1  H x  Bishop Franco Mulakkal who allegedly sexually exploited nuns

A Bishop raping and exploiting nuns for years and threatening them after they blow the cover remains a 5-second news item, but never a topic of debates. A communist lady commits suicide in the party office in Kerala, it remains a piece of small news, not discussed. Is women’s exploitation in a political party not a bigger illustration of male patriarchy? Dalits are hanged in Bengal but don’t even find mention in the news because they belong to a ‘communal’ party? Rajasthan had 18 rape cases in the last two days, but it doesn’t outrage our sensitive people? That Rajasthan rapes have increased by 81% doesn’t alarm people? But worthy leaders of the Congress did not deem it fit to take cognizance of their CM’s gross insensitive governance.

UP has 1.87 rapes per one lakh population while Delhi has 6.085 and Kerala 5.189. Rajasthan comes out darkest in the infographics on rape, but we will not raise our eyebrows. However, UP must be badgered. Should we grade crimes and tragedies with political glasses? Have we forgotten humanity? India ranks 33rd in the world in rapes per 100,000 but our left-liberal class is happy to label India as the rape capital of the world. This worries me deeply.

hathras_1  H x  Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot has the audacity to say that Hathras and Baran rape cases can't be compared

Lastly, no law can control rapes till law and order machinery is rapid and harsh. The New Nirbhaya anti-rape law hasn’t deterred people from the worst crimes. Because there is a feeling that criminals can get away with it because the police will not be too keen to register and solve the crime. If police are firm, then there is a crawling judicial system that will take care of their health for years and by the time something moves, some witnesses would have disappeared or silenced. This must change. Our society must also change to take responsibility for training the ‘boys’ to respect women. And, without police reforms, this is just a lot of opportunist hot air and photo-op for politicians.

I was under the impression that rape is a symbol of male power over women, of male hegemony and patriarchy. But with Hathras it is confirmed that it is a political tool in the hands of politicians. Victims don’t matter as they are just fuel for their political ambitions. Hathras and Balrampur tell us that rapes have political shades and most of the media also wear shaded glasses.