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Monday, 17 December 2012

46. ONCE AGAIN ON THE CRIME STREET OF THE RAPE CAPITAL OF INDIA

A number of TV vans were lined up on the road
The window of my kitchen seems to have become the window to the dark world of crime, sadness and anguish. Once again, as I stood in the kitchen this morning, fixing up the breakfast, I observed that a big vehicle was parked blocking the traffic light in front of the colony gate. Irritated at the apathy of the traffic police as the police station is right there, I uttered a few curses trying to focus better on the vehicle. It was a Zee TV van. As I looked further, I could see a few more vans with satellites, parked in a row outside the Police Station. Oh my God! What has happened, I wondered. I put on my shoes and was soon out on the road to satisfy my curiosity.

The road outside my colony, termed as the Crime Street in the Rape Capital of India was lined with the TV vans of all hues and colours. Not being too adventurous, my queries were limited to my conversation with the security guards posted at the gate of our colony.
“What has happened here? Why so many TV vans,” I asked.
Kal raat koi kaand ho gaya hai, (Some incident has taken place last night).”
Kaand? What kaand?” I asked.
“Some woman has been raped there,” replied the watchman on duty, raising his hand in the direction towards the road. His voice was unaffected as if reporting a run-of-the-mill incident. Nothing seems to be shocking the common man's mind these days!

I immediately came back home to switch on the TV only to hear that a young man, who works in a software firm and his female friend who were going back after seeing a movie, took a White line bus from Munirka last night between 9.30 to 10 pm. Some men, who were already on the bus, started molesting the girl and when he objected to that, they tied him up and hit him with iron rods. They gang-raped the girl and later threw both of them out of the moving bus after removing their clothes. The victim has been taken to Safdarjung Hospital in a critical condition. The Police has not been able to locate the criminals so far….. the TV news continued.

TV vans awaiting some news bytes
I stepped out of the colony again and this time ventured up to the Police Station. I saw many a camera-person waiting outside the police station as the young man was perhaps being interrogated in there. There were a large number of curious onlookers present on the road including me.


A White Line bus of Yadav Transport was engaged by  the posh 
Birla Vidya Niketan School of South Delhi for ferrying children
to the school, was found in Sector III of RK Puram
There was a white bus also parked on the other side of the road. A few guys standing next to the bus were calling someone on mobile, “Yes, we are here right in front of the police station.” Is this the bus which was used for the gang-rape? Thinking that gave me goose pimples and I rushed back to the safety of my house. 








Onlookers galore outside the Police Station
But my mind is still not at ease. How unsafe it is for a woman outside her house!  We have always been told to take a male escort along when stepping out to ensure our safety. But it looks like that a male companion is no deterrent to the crooks, the rogues and the criminals. What kind of psyche is this that makes a monster of a man? What compels him to become a beast on seeing a hapless woman? What can be done to stop this kind of crimes which seem to be increasing by leaps and bounds? My restless mind doesn’t seem to be finding any answers.

*****


JNU students held a day-long demonstration  in front of
the Vasant Vihar Police Station
P.S. 18th December, 2012: Four culprits have been arrested. Main guy is Ram Singh, the driver of a school bus plying for Birla Vidya Niketan. Another one is his brother. Third one is a fruit-seller. And the fourth one works as an Assistant in Siri Fort Gym. Two of them are still absconding. The girl is battling for life in Safdarjung Hospital. There is uproar in the Parliament with many MPs demanding death penalty for the rapists. JNU students held a day-long dharna and conducted Nukkad Naatak on the road in front of the Vasant Vihar Police Station. The road was closed for the better part of the day. 

But how long will this agitation last. Soon everything will settle down and it will be life as usual. Why such heinous crimes are taking place in a country which boasts of innumerable female Goddesses. Are they worshipped only for seeking blessings and because they are perceived  in a position to give you something? They say in Vedas, "Yatra naryastu poojante, ramante tatra devtah (Where a woman is worshipped, Gods live there)". But is the converse of this also true.... Where a woman is NOT worshipped, demons inhabit there? But in today's world we have forgotten all these lessons and crimes against women continue unabated because:
  • The value system is dying a fast death with no lessons on civic sense, moral science and ethics in schools.
  • A woman is still seen in the society as an item to be possessed physically and not as an equal and a person in her own right. 
  • There is no fear of Police or authority.
  • The culprits are usually not caught and if caught are let off on bail.
  • The culprits also believe in the power of money to turn tables in their favour, and
  • The judicial process is very slow and tedious.

*****

Friday, 7 December 2012

45. THE WAILING WOMAN AND A TREE

It was traffic as usual on Nelson Mandela Road
The morning before yesterday, I was in the kitchen fixing up the breakfast. As I emptied the milk packets and placed the vessel on the stove for boiling it, I thought I heard a scream. Initially paying no heed to this strange sound amid the myriad sounds of the morning traffic on the main road, sales pitches of various vendors and hawkers and unfamiliar chirping of migratory birds on the big Neem tree outside my flat, I continued with my chores.


But the squeals would not stop and their pitch kept increasing with every successive one. What was that, I was forced to wonder? It sounded like a siren but it was definitely not a siren, I could decipher that from the multiplicity of ear-splitting decibels and notes. Oh my God, it suddenly dawned, was it a woman … wailing perhaps in extreme anguish.


The auto was parked exactly at the place where this auto is located
I tried to look at the road from the window of my kitchen to ascertain the cause, but I could see only heavy morning traffic and vehicles zipping past. People were rushing off to their work-place. The only thing that I could figure out was that an auto-rickshaw continued to be parked there right in the middle of the T-junction under the red-light. Why was the auto parked neither this side nor on that side of the road but in the middle? Why was it not moving even when the light turned green? Was some woman being kidnapped and she decided to raise an alarm at the traffic light? Or was it that she was in labour and could not tolerate the pains? Was the auto driver seated or had deserted the auto and run away? The possibilities were innumerable and I was not able to stand in the kitchen anymore. I decided to check up and went inside to pick up the phone to first call the Security at the gate.
“What is this sound about?” I asked the watchman.
“I don’t know. It is some woman crying in the auto on the road,” the watchman on the duty replied nonchalantly.

I could not restrain myself anymore. A woman is definitely in acute distress and needs help. So I hurriedly put on my chappals and picked up the mobile phone before rushing out. Maybe I’ll have to call the police, I thought.

By the time, I reached the gate, there were no sounds and it was traffic as usual. Two of our Safai karamcharis were coming back from across the road. They shared, “It was a woman who was taking her ailing husband to the hospital and the man died on the way in the auto-rickshaw itself. So we told the auto driver to take her back. No point taking the dead body to the hospital.” And they moved on to resume their duty of collecting garbage from the flats. 
The watchman added defensively, “Madam, we are not supposed to leave our guard-post especially for an issue outside the gate. So I continued to stay put here.” He was right in his own way, I agreed.

But there were countless vehicles of all sizes and shapes which stopped at the red light, gazed curiously at the hapless woman holding the dead body of her husband and wailing uncontrollably, and had moved on. Nobody had time for anyone.

Wondering whether the milk of human kindness had dried up in today’s world, I returned to my kitchen only to notice that the milk had flowed over the flames and had extinguished it.  Did it symbolise anything? May be, I am being too imaginative.

Out of the three absolutely healthy trees, this one fell down out of the blue
trapping a car and blocking the busy Nelson Mandela Road.
And yesterday, exactly after 24 hours, by some quirk of fate, the tree under which the auto with the wailing woman had remained parked for about ten minutes suddenly fell down trapping underneath a bright red car. Nothing abnormal had happened, no earthquake, no thunder, no lightning and no accident. How the otherwise healthy tree fell down is an absolute mystery challenging my rational mind.

They say trees too have life (Prana) and can feel. Was this tree not been able to endure the pain of that woman’s uncontrolled heart-rending wails? Or maybe it was a mere coincidence. Who knows!!!

-    A real incident

*****