After 8 Incidents Of Rape This Month, 14 U.P Men Molest Two Women, And Post A Video Online. What's Next?
U.P's new Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath set in place "anti-Romeo" squads in order to establish safety for women. But, with the number of rape cases on a steady rise, one wonders what purpose these squads have served?
In the month of May alone, 8 incidents of rape have been reported in the state. On the 7th of May, a woman was gang-raped on a highway in Jalaun district. On the 25th, four women were gang-raped at gunpoint on the Yamuna Expressway in Bulandshahr. Another incident of a 27-year-old being raped by three men in front of her father was reported. Of course, this is not all.
But, let's come to the latest news of brazen gender-based violence in the state. Recently, a video was released of 14 men harassing two women in broad daylight.
This incident took place in Tanda district of U.P. One of the accused has been arrested, there are four search teams looking for the rest of the miscreants, and also trying to identify the two women.
While it's great that the police have been involved soon, and are actively looking for the perpetrators, what do these rampant cases of rape and molestation say about the state? Azam Khan, the local legislator of the state, is of the belief that women should stay at home, if they are to be protected. In 2016, when a minor and her mother were raped in Bulanshahr, he said, "Everyone should try to keep women of the family indoors. Girls should not go to places where there is a brazen dance of shamelessness.
"With leaders like him, what is the future of the state? Where is the anti-Romeo squad when we need it? Where were the people whose job is to protect women, when the two women in the video above were being cornered and harassed like that? Do you see the brazen dance of shamelessness on the faces of these men???
But, no, of course, it is the fault of the two women who dared to step out. Ladke toh chhedenge hi, ladkein hain.
The police might catch all 14 of the men in the video above, but unless this kind of offensive, violent, and one-sided thinking changes, what good is the police or even an anti-Romeo squad?
Until 10 years ago, cops in Delhi used to automatically assume that a woman must have done something to invite teasing from a man. The exact same thinking that is now overtaking U.P was once something we all felt in Delhi. But, when Shiela Dixit came into power, she changed the face of the city in many ways. She made Delhi a better place for women. With programs like the Ladli Scheme and Kishori scheme, she built a culture of giving financial freedom, and basic health to women, in order to empower them. She was a strong advocate of women fighting for their rights, and encouraged men to join in. And now, 10 years later, while rapes might still happen, we feel safer reaching out to cops, thanks to the emphasis Dixit put on training the police force in how to deal with women with sensitivity.
Point is, if a leader fights for 100 per cent of women empowerment, he or she will achieve 1 per cent in his lifetime. Chances are the world will be a better place then. But, if a leader says women should stay at home for their safety, where do we go from there?