A valuable lesson from Rohtak girls

Here was a stark case of women defending women with force in an extraordinary battle of the sexes

The riposte has come from two spunky young women. The Haryana sisters from Rohtak have said more eloquently what the society at large needed to but did not; indeed it seemed uninterested. The actions of these girls from the hinterland have spoken louder than any words could have. The President’s medal for bravery which will be conferred on them on the occasion of Republic Day next year is but a small recognition of the valuable lesson they taught us at considerable cost to themselves last Sunday while travelling from Rohtak to Sonepat in a packed passenger bus in a journey that became a nightmare.

After the Nirbhaya case which rocked the country two years ago, the law was changed to address the issue of gender violence against women. But there seemed little awareness of this at the level of administration, the police, and society. Ghastly stories of sexual violence from all parts of the country flooded the media. But it is business as usual.

Pious words are spoken when shaming violence occurs. And then we are back to representing women as devis and deities to be honoured and respected so long as they are of service in the male-domination industry. The Rohtak girls whipped the three molesters with their belts only after the fiends threatened to attack a pregnant woman co-passenger who dared to protest what was happening to the young girls as other passengers sat mum and allowed the goons to do as they pleased. Here was a stark case of women defending women with force in an extraordinary battle of the sexes in the confines of a moving bus. The men who preen themselves as protectors and defenders of women, their honour, their lives, became wild predators in a publicly enacted drama.

To think that the three beasts had cleared the first hurdle to be recruited as Army jawans! It is hardly enough that the Army has knocked their names off the selection list. If justice has to have enough meaning, it should be delivered with swiftness. The conductor and the driver of the bus, and any government servants who may have been travelling in it, also need to be brought into the ambit of the law and subjected to judicial scrutiny with the possibility of penal action taken against them for acquiescence.

The video shot by the pregnant woman passenger brings more clarity to the issue of gender than moralistic harangues, angry posturing or courtroom dramas. The heroic tale of the besieged girls needs to be retold. The video in question can be perfect material for classroom and workshop discussions on gender and sexual violence.

( Source : dc )
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