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Hyderabad gangrape & murder: Odisha gender specialists feel frustrated

Orissa Post 2019-12-03 09:03:56

The gangrape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinary doctor in Telangana has not only sent shock waves across the nation, but has left many grumbling with the worsening law and order situation in the country. Though Bhubaneswar doesn’t score as poorly as other cities like Bhopal, Gwalior and Jodhpur where nearly 90 per cent women feel unsafe, still going by the accounts of National Crime Records Bureau, the crimes against the women are rising and that set the alarm bells ringing. With the people venting out anger and helplessness across all forums and  the Parliament expressing outrage over the gruesome incident, two eminent personalities who have been vocal on women related issues in the past, share their views with Orissa POST on how to deal with the issue.

Rape is a crime not only against a woman but against humanity as life never remains the same even for the father, brother, husband or male friends of the victim, says Hiranmayee Mishra, a writer and gender specialist. She is also the director of Women’s Studies Centre (UGC).

Hiranmayee is furious and feels frustrated over the recent gangrape and murder of the vet who was in mid twenties. It is high time we must imagine how we have failed as a community, she cautions.

Asked about the safety of women in Bhubaneswar, she says, “It is a Smart City but sadly no smartness is seen when our girls and women are misbehaved and raped. All the branch roads and roads that connect the outskirts of the city have turned into safe haven of anti socials as soon as the sun sets. What do you expect in dark, ill-lit and poorly maintained streets in this city? Look at the increasing number of girls who go to work and come back late in the night. Can’t the state provide enough street lights and CCTV cameras on all roads of our city now?”

There is an urgent need to evolve a mechanism to combat this menace, adds Hiranmayee seeking sensitisation programme for males too.

She continues: “I regularly attend sensitisation programmes, some of them are organised by the government and some by the NGOs. Unfortunately, I find most of the participants are girls and women. We are repeatedly making our girls gender aware. But no plans are in place to make gender sensitisation programmes compulsory for boys and men. The state should make gender awareness trainings mandatory for the males before they step into schools, colleges or work places. We should bring up our boys with the knowledge of how to behave with the other sex.”

Her other suggestion is to make the one stop crisis centres and first track courts really visible and active. There should be exemplary punishment and the decision must come within a stipulated timeframe.

“I don’t support capital punishment as that encourages the perpetrators to kill the victims in order to destroy the evidences. Chemical castration should be the punishment for the rapists who will live their lives, but hopefully with a sense of curtailed dignity,” she suggests.

In the meantime, the role of parents, who allow their children to remain outdoor in the night and that allegedly encourages the crime, has also come under scanner.

Asked about parents’ role in curbing the menace, Biyot Projna Tripathy, a National award-winning film director and an alumnus of FTII-Pune, says, “There is absolutely no role of the parents in preventing the growing criminal cases against women. It is the state which should ensure the safety of the girls and women. Parents can guide their children at home. But what happens outdoor is not in their hands. The recent gangrape and murder case of Telangana vet is a case in point. How can parents ensure safety on a street?”

“It is the state which should make the roads safe for its citizens. Why can’t we have round-the-clock police patrolling and CCTV installations everywhere while crores of rupees are pumped in for the police deployment to ensure safety of the VIPs and VVIPs, not the citizens. Police are overused for this purpose. Can’t we think of providing bullet-proof cars to the VIPs and divert the police to protect the life of ordinary citizens? Our sloppy legal system only adds salt to the victims’ wounds. It has been nearly seven years but the convicts in Nirbhaya case are yet to be executed,” she further says, pointing fingers towards the role of government and our porous legal system.

“Yes parents have a role. They have a role to bring up a son well. We are not doing anything to make the boys understand the social system and their surroundings well. We have created smart women but we have failed to create descent men to have them in their lives. We have empowered our women but we haven’t made our sons understand and behave well with women,” concludes Tripathy.

Bijay Mandal, OP