Defending the indefensible

It is a topsy-turvy world in which the victim is guilty and the criminal is innocent. The stalking and attempted kidnapping of a young girl, daughter of an IAS officer in Chandigarh, by the son of a top BJP leader, has taken a curious turn. First, as soon as the identity of the offender was known the police tried to play down the gravity of the crime by arresting the accused and slapping bailable charges on him. He was then bailed out. Then the CCTV footages first mysteriously disappeared, then re-surfaced. Then started the vilification of the victim. Questions were raised as to what a young girl was doing so late in the night and why young girls should be out at all at night. In a democratic country where every citizen, irrespective of his or her gender, is supposed to enjoy the same fundamental rights, why a woman out at night should be the target of such insulting questions and insinuations? The BJP is the ruling party in the State and the Centre and Chandigarh is a Union Territory directly under the Central rule.
Instead of condemning the crime and taking strict measures under the law against the offender, the big shots of the ruling party are busy defending their leader’s son and trying desperately to put the blame on the victim girl. Their strange logic boils down to a simple message: If you are a woman and if you are out at night, you are liable to be molested and you should suffer it without a murmur of protest. Would the BJP leaders have reacted the same way if the offender was even remotely connected to a Congress leader? What is shocking is that no central leader of the party, from the party president downwards, has publicly condemned this incident and assured the people that such crimes would not go unpunished, howsoever highly connected the offender may be.
In a patriarchal society that India is, the usual tendency of the men folk is to blame the woman, find fault with her and treat her as inferior to men. For all the unctuous talk of beti padhao and beti bachao, the sense of superiority of man over woman persists and pervades the thinking of men in general. But for a party ruling the country to defend the indefensible and that, too, so blatantly, will only erode its own credibility. The top leadership of the party should condemn the incident in a forthright manner and assure the people that such offenders would not be spared whatever his connections may be.

Wednesday, 9 August, 2017