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Friday, 13 April 2018

The Hindu Editorial: No Place For Young Girls

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The Hindu Editorial: No Place For Young Girls

Title: No place for young girls 

(In Kathua and Unnao, the common feature is the blatant support given by BJP leaders to those accused of rape) 

The child was just eight years old. 

Her father registered the missing child case with the police on January 12. Her battered body was found on January 17. Six men were arrested, among them a special police officer, a retired revenue official and his family members; later two policemen were arrested for connivance and destruction of evidence. 

Can any human being remain untouched, unmoved by the horrors the child had to face, depicted so graphically in the chargesheet? 

But there are such people who are not only unmoved but who are straining every nerve and it would seem muscle to sabotage and prevent the processes of justice. 

They are men who are Ministers in the State government, they are men who lead organisations, they are men who wear the black robes of lawyers, those who are supposed to serve the ends of justice. 

For two months, ever since the arrests were made the area has been witness to mobilisations and agitations. 

These have been organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch, a platform set up by affiliates of the Sangh Parivar. 

The Hindu Ekta Manch has been pursuing just one aim, to prove that the investigation is wrong, the arrests are wrong because all those arrested happen to be Hindus whereas the child victim belonged to a Muslim family. 

It is not just the fringe elements involved. Two Ministers of the coalition government belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Forests Minister Lal Singh and Industries Minister Chander Parkash Ganga, had joined an agitation against the arrests. Lawyers, or a section of them, went on strike to prevent the police officials from filing the chargesheet. Yet none of them have been arrested. They have the patronage of their leaders in the BJP. 

“Imagine if ‘Nirbhaya’ had happened to be Muslim, would the streets of Delhi have been filled not with young people demanding justice, but with Hindu Ekta Manch supporters protesting against the arrest of Hindus?” 

Shamefully, according to the chargesheet, communal considerations determined the selection of the victim too. 

A deliberate plan? 

The rape was a deliberate plan to terrorise the Bakherwal community to leave the area. The Bakherwals and the Gujjars, recognised as Scheduled Tribes, are Muslim by belief. The child was raped, going by the chargesheet, because she was a Muslim. 

Over in Unnao 

A 17-year-old had tried to file a case of rape against an MLA who belongs to the ruling BJP government. 

She was forced to stage a protest before the Chief Minister’s house, but even that made no difference. On the contrary, the girl and her family were harassed. Her father died in police custody. 

What would that young woman have faced — traumatised, humiliated and then to see her own father being arrested and killed because she had dared to make a complaint against a powerful man, backed by the Chief Minister. This is enough to discourage any complaints of sexual harassment against men with powerful connections. 

In the Kathua and Unnao cases, the common feature is the blatant support given by BJP leaders and their Sangh Parivar partners to those accused of rape. India has seen the results of the marauding violence of “gau rakshaks”. Now a new brand of politics has appeared of “rapist rakshaks”. 

The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign and the Prime Minister’s words on “women’s empowerment” get exposed as mere rhetoric when perpetrators of such horrific crimes are protected by those in power and he remains silent. 

Title: Chennai loses out 

(Without shifting IPL out, the rights of fans and protesters could have been protected) 

The shifting of Indian Premier League cricket matches out of Chennai reflects poorly on the Tamil Nadu administration. It is misleading to see the development as a victory for protesters espousing the Cauvery cause or as the inevitable result of the current political mood in Tamil Nadu. 

It is undeniable that there were aggressive protests around the Chepauk stadium just before the season’s first match in the city. 

But governments exist to maintain public order and are expected to stand up to threats made by a fringe, whether it is calling for the ban of a book, a film or a cricket match. If cricket is a victim of such protests, it is because of its very success. 

Instead of going weak and ambivalent on assurances of safety, the State government and the police should have worked out a solution under which scheduled matches and the right of the protesters to voice their grievances were both protected. 

As for the IPL management, it may have felt there was sufficient reason to drop Chepauk as a venue because of the State government’s attitude. While cricket stadiums are now securely protected, there was no mechanism to screen ticket-buyers and — as the last match in Chepauk revealed — very little that can be done to stop protesters from flinging shoes and other objects on to the ground. 

There is legitimate and widespread concern in Tamil Nadu over the Centre’s inexplicable delay in framing a scheme to resolve the Cauvery problem, over which there has been more than one protest over the last few days. 

But the fact that the Chennai Super Kings’ ‘home’ matches will now be played in Pune is a blow to the game’s fans in Chennai. That the IPL is a commercially driven extravaganza bordering on entertainment does not justify it being fair game for protesters. 

It may be true that sport cannot remain completely divorced from politics and there is no denying the dominant political mood on the Cauvery issue. However, rarely has this principle been extended to threaten a sporting event that has no link whatsoever to the political cause — in this case a water-sharing crisis that principally involves two States. 

Vocabulary words: 

Blatant (adj) = Done openly and unashamedly (ज़बरदस्त) 

Semblance (noun) = The outward appearance (दिखावा) 

Chronicle (noun) = Record (इतिहास) 

Battered (adj) = Injured by repeated blows or punishment (मारना) 

Connivance (noun) = Willingness to allow or be secretly involved in an illegal act 

Depict (verb) = Represent by a drawing (चित्रित करना) 

Brutality (noun) = Great cruelty (निर्दयता) 

Abduct (verb) = Kidnap (अपहरण करना) 

Sedate (verb) = Calm down (स्थिर) 

Sabotage (verb) = Deliberately destroy (नुक़सान पहुंचाना) 

Ambivalent (adj) = Having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas 

Dastardly (adj) = Wicked and cruel (कायर, नीच) 

Patronage (noun) = Protection, backing (संरक्षण) 

Subvert (verb) = Destablise, unsettle (पलट देना) 

Resurgence (noun) = Renewal, revival (पुनरुत्थान) 

Abolition (noun) = Ending, stopping (समाप्ति) 

Potent (noun) = Powerful 

Perpetrator (noun) = Offender, culprit (अपराधी) 

Marauding (adj) = Predacious (लूट-पाट करनेवाला) 

Espouse (verb) = Adopt or support (समर्थन करना) 

Capitulate (verb) = Cease to resist an opponent (शर्तों को मान लेना) 

Frayed (adj) = Showing the effects of strain (अस्तव्यस्त) 

Scuffle (noun) = Fight (हाथापाई) 

Extravaganza (noun) = Spectacular (कल्पात्मक नाटक) 


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