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Mainstream, VOL LII, No 25, June 14, 2014

Rapes, Gang-rapes, Prostitution

Saturday 14 June 2014, by Humra Quraishi


Rapes and gang-rapes! Sexual maniacs on the prowl! Perversion hitting all possible quarters—right from the rural to the urban belts, from the top brass to the lowest rung!

What’s shocking is this accompanying factor—in the Badaun gang-rape-cum-murder of the two minors girls, cops are more than involved. The very ‘protector’ turns your rapist! And to top it all, there is politics even in this horrible mess. Every possible political outfit is there to demolish Akhilesh Yadav’s governance-cum-government in Uttar Pradesh. With that relaying that women are safe in other States of this country.

Let’s talk rather blatantly—no woman is safe in any locale and definitely not if she is commuting all by herself. She could be old or young, scantily clad or covered from head to toe, bold or shy, rich or not-so. There will be perverts and maniacs who’d be there to pounce and molest and rape. Let any of the women Ministers, or any of those mighty who’s who, walk along unescorted on the streets and roads of New Delhi and it would be a feat of sorts if they’d return intact and all there! And let me also add that no woman or child is left untouched if and when rioting peaks, for those political brigades are let loose. In every riot-torn locale there are reported cases of rapes and molestations but criminals are allowed to move around, if not offered ministerial positions.

Till you don’t sensitise the cops or usher in watch-dog groups to control these human tragedies, you cannot move an inch along the good governance dream. You cannot talk of development when children—boys and girls—are subjected to sexual assaults. ‘Missing’ children is another of those blatant realities of the day—every single day hundreds of children go missing. For what! To be pushed into prostitution or sold to those manning the ever expanding organ trade. What are we doing about this! No, nothing! Apparently nothing! Don’t we shut our eyes at every crossing when dozens of street children are seen loitering around—they look more than vulnerable as though waiting for the human vultures to come and devour their very innocence.

Prostitution rackets are more than flouri-shing! Yet there is that eerie silence spreading out—on the who’s who running these rackets and also on the client and sex worker ratio! Hundreds are trapped and raped and killed in these prostitution dens!

No land can be ever labelled developed if its women and children and jailed population are abused by the so-called ‘protectors’.

A Rather Dismal Scenario on the Environment Front

I do realise I am focusing on the dark realities of the day. Don’t blame me, for I can’t concoct ‘happy happenings’ when there are none of those taking place. At least not here. And adding to the ever-growing list of the dismals around is the state of the very environment we are living in.

Yesterday—June 3—The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) released the findings of its Environment Survey 2014. This year the survey covered eight cities—Delhi, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Indore, Jamshedpur, Kanpur and Pune. And as the spokesperson pointed out, the very focus of this survey was on the general environment and in particular—‘to gauge the perception, awareness, opinion and behaviour of people towards environment in India’. Together with this, focus on water and waste-related issues.

Before I write about some of these findings, what intrigued is the very timing of this press meet—from 1.30 to 3.30 pm. Remember, it’s peak summer here in New Delhi and this afternoon slot was almost a teaser. Anyway, braving the June heat many were there to hear those findings along expected lines.

 Let me quote some of those findings from the report—“Perceptions from Delhi—over 90 per cent of the respondents say climatic changes were occurring, 95 per cent felt that temperatures were increasing, 64 per cent stated that rainfall was declining, over 50 per cent favoured prioritising environment over development, 40 per cent felt that air pollution control policies were not implemented, 99 per cent of the respondents agreed that the quality of environment had an immediate impact on health, only 17 per cent expressed their willingness to pay actual cost of water, 97 per cent of the respondents were in favour of a ban on use of polythene bags.”

Yes, these findings are along expected lines. No shockers. After all, don’t we all know these harsh ground realities ...these getting harsher as there is disappointment at the implemen-tation levels.

What could be termed as something offbeat is that this survey was also conducted in smaller towns and cities—Kanpur, Indore, Coimbatore, Jamshedpur or Guwahati. A chance-cum-occasion for those residing there to speak out, though they would also know that there is nil implementation of our concerns and apprehensions.