It’s time now for the rest of the country to take a page out of the book of Northeast on how to show respect to women. No matter how much they protest, how many stringent laws they make or how many women they accommodate both at political and administrative hierarchy, crimes against women will continue to haunt mainland India till our rulers realise that the fault lies in mindset and not in weak laws or anything else.
A few years ago, when the entire country was protesting the gang rape of Nirbhaya (The brave girl), the then Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar made a very significant comment. “I served couple of years in the Northeast. But forget about rape or molestation, I have not seen even a case of eve teasing throughout my tenure in the region,” said a pensive Mr. Kumar.
Not only the former Delhi police commissioner, but also anyone who has been in the north eastern region must have noticed the differences it has with the mainland in the treatment of women. Forget about the other parts of the country, in India’s capital even now parents don’t allow the girls to go out alone after dark. The worried parents make it a point that someone trusted should accompany their daughter to ensure her safety.
Do the parents in Northeast worry for their daughters’ safety like the parents of the other parts of the country. No, the Northeast parents are free from such headaches. They know that their daughters are as safe on the roads as they are in their home. A luxury they cannot afford while sending their daughters to mainland. This has been made possible as there is no gender discrimination in the Northeast. No North Easterner ever thinks to earn in crore by marrying his son with the daughter of a wealthy businessman, neither they ever think of female foeticide if they come to know that they are going to be blessed with a girl child.
So to make India a safe living place for women, efforts should be made to wipe out discrimination in the name of gender. Women should be given their rightful place in the society. They are not to be treated as doormats like now. Everyone has to take a vow to erase the dowry system. Rape and dowry kill almost equal number of women in this country every year. Incidents like an elected representative paying a thanksgiving visit to a person in jail on rape charges. The recently elected MP has openly dedicated his victory to that jailed person. Why no steps have been taken against the MP till now for glorifying a rapist? Should we feel proud of taking help from rapists?
It is sad but true that be it our political leaders or the Civil Society, everyone prefers to use such a heinous crime to their benefit. Even the most recent incident in Aligarh where a three-year-old girl was raped and murdered, it is being argued that was it is a fallout of religious rivalry, forgetting the fact that the accused has already served a jail term on charges of raping his own daughter.
A criminal has no religion, caste or creed. He should be given the strongest possible punishment so that others even dare to think of committing such crime. But before that, the mainlanders will have to learn how to respect the women. Otherwise, India will always remain in the medieval age in regard to safety and security of women.