Women safety remains elusive

Women safety remains elusive

Women safety remains elusive, Once again, a rape in the national capital has triggered outrage that is not confined to the metropolis. There are echoes abroad.

Once again, a rape in the national capital has triggered outrage that is not confined to the metropolis. There are echoes abroad. Once again, the incident has generated anger against the authority – multiple targets this time. And once again, there is politics of rape in full swing as Delhi prepares for Assembly elections. Delhi, and India, are living a repeat of the Nirbhaya rape two Decembers back. The dramatis personae have changed, but fundamentals are the same. And they are worrying.

If Nirbhaya, who died eventually, was raped in a public bus by four people with her boyfriend watching helplessly while being bashed up, the rape of a lady executive this time is in a swank cab. The culprit is the driver who, it turns out, has been a serial offender. He has somehow hoodwinked a porous, inefficient system of police, transport authority and much else. Shiv Kumar Yadav has been a rape accused, no less, but US-multinational company Uber retained him despite complaints by at least one earlier customer who has gone public. The driving license is fake and also, we are told, a good character certificate by an additional commissioner of police, a senior post. Uber is facing problems in the US, and now Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Spain have acted against it. The service run by mobile app a web-based facility that has many loopholes. In countries where app-run services are in vogue, the unsuspecting customer is told that the government is not responsible for his/her safety while availing that facility. Clearly, governments everywhere see profits when they allow such facilities, but do not care enough about public safety. Such facilities, at least in India, are availed by the upper class that get used to them and will want the authorities to bend the rules for them. Campaign on the social media questioning the government’s swift move to ban Uber is a product of that phenomenon.

When Nirbhaya happened, the Manmohan Singh Government and Delhi’s Congress government were clueless about how to handle protests. Treating them as law and order proved disastrous. Already underway was an anti-graft movement in which everyone was together - Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal (later AAP), Yoga guru Ramdev, then opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and behind the scene, RSS cadres that swelled the anti-government rallies. Isolated, the Congress paid for it dearly.

Now, in power at the Centre and aspiring to capture Delhi, the BJP and its government appear to have anticipated the public anger and doing everything to contain it. They do not want a repeat of Nirbhaya outrage and fear that the Congress might return the compliment. To their good luck, so far, the Congress and AAP have not been able to generate much political heat. But that does not take away the seriousness of the crime and of the laxity of various government departments that has got badly exposed.

Crimes, including rape, do take place. The point to ponder is what produces the likes of Yadav? How can a society detect, isolate and punish them?

By: Mahendra Ved

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