Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Badaun is a case of assertion of power against two of India’s most discriminated minorities

By Amitabh Kumar - Head of Media Division (Centre for Social Research)
Badaun has once again got our attention to gender based violence & caste discrimination. No not that India had changed immensely after 16th of December 2012, but most of us were at peace with ourselves as we had attended a few candle light vigils & expressed our solidarity on social media platforms, plus our mission was accomplished once we heard the death sentence for all the accused (except the juvenile who will be out on the streets real soon). But whatever it takes to make this epidemic a point of concern, sadly the solutions we are coming up with are as usual salt to taste, band aid, short term populist solutions to make headlines.

  • Sacking of the misogynistic/patriarchal/corrupt Government of Mr Yadav and crew is a good move for a million reasons but not really a solution for gender based violence or caste discrimination. As the situation is pretty much the same across the nation, (I know this will come as shocker to most, as media tends to focus on a few states when it comes to reporting certain matters, but here is a list of inhuman crimes against Dalits from across the Nation)

  • Setting up of the fancy sounding rape crisis cell, will be like adding an accessory to a failed machinery. Though that is the favorite modus operandi of our government, to create a new centre, scheme, commission, the only issue is they use the existing decaying mechanisms. As the ‘rape crisis cell 'will be dependent on the state police to execute its function, how does it help ?

  • Firing police personnel (that too the ones at the lowest posts) does not solve the purpose either. They have learned to serve the ones in power & ‘only’ work for them, which is not surprising as we follow the ‘police act ‘written by the British to control the Indians & serve the British. As our rulers changed, the police still controls the citizens & serves the parliamentarians. The other side is the police force, which does not take 'rape 'as a serious crime, rather seen with a mentality of victim blaming, 'boys will be boys’, 'dented painted'. These infamous comments sadly reflect the Indian mentality towards gender based violence & that’s not changing by firing a few men in Khaki.

  • As for building toilets, that is a required & essential step to improve the quality of life for the women of UP and across the nation BUT keeping women at home is not really a solution one wants.

So are there any solutions? Well yes they are right in front of us, recommended by commissions setup by our own government (as NGO recommendations are always branded as foreign agenda to pollute Indian culture) even written in the constitution. The latest one being the Justice Verma Committee Recommendations when it comes to tackling gender based violence, as for caste based discrimination there is the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 & loads of advisory reports on how to implement it by our own Ministry of Home Affairs.

Sadly they are never looked upon, every time an incident like the Badaun gets a bit of media coverage, we all (Lead by a few grant seekers from the civil society) relay to reinvent the wheel, well the laws are very much in place, it’s the implementation which is failing, sometimes due to corruption at others due to hurdles created in the system but mostly because of ‘we’ as a society just don’t care enough.

Its not enough just to create a ruckus, as important as it is to stir the system up by protests, slogans & candle light vigils, its essential to bring closure to survivors, to ensure justice no matter how long it takes. Sadly the activist in most of us only becomes alive when the news cameras are around, for those few seconds of fame, for those likes on facebook & shares on twitter. But all that they are on the next day is digital waste if we are not following up & working for systemic changes. All the policing in the world will not change our attitude towards gender based violence unless we are sensitized against it. Similarly only providing quotas will not provide social respect to lower castes. We need to implement focused awareness generation & integration programs to ensure that.

Badaun is a case of assertion of power against two of India’s most discriminated minorities. When I say minority I am not focusing on numbers, I am focusing on social power distribution & sadly Dalits & Women of the Indian subcontinent need a lot of support & protection so that they can attain their share of power & ensure such injustices are not repeated.

1 comment:

  1. Apart from lack of implementation of justice verma recommendations , a substantial amount of population is not aware about the laws dealing with gender based violence . There is a dire need to create awareness among the masses about the pros and cons of gender based violence .
    I stand for safe Delhi .