The banality and horror of crime against women in UP came once again to fore when a journalist was shot for reporting the sexual harassment of his niece to police. Vikram Joshi, who worked with a Hindi newspaper, had filed an in-person molestation complaint on behalf of his relative on June 16 but even after he followed it up with postal mail, no action was taken.
Nine people have been arrested after his death. The ruling party is at it now, trying to add communal colour to the tragedy.
The promise was of ramraj, epistemically problematic but putatively assuring rule of law and peace.
When the incumbent chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, took over the reins from his predecessor in 2017, it was expected that he would bring down the crime graph in Uttar Pradesh.
Law and order had deteriorated under his predecessor who nonetheless boosted development. It turned out to be a false hope. It appears that the CM only believes in encounter raj; his casually brutal, inherently misogynist and trigger-happy force groomed to look the other way in the face of the most dreadful atrocity but quickly bump off the odd don fallen out of political favour.
Law is forever the first casualty, and it is ones who are politically weakest, dalit, women or Muslim, who are at the receiving end. On Wednesday, too, a woman, who immolated herself in front of Adityanath's office over police inaction in a land dispute case in Amethi, died. Her daughter who accompanied her in the gesture is struggling.
With medieval notions of honour circumscribing lives of Indian women and making them soft targets of sexual crime, sexism and gendered hate, any outrage often perpetuates a sick and pervasive reality. But there are breakthroughs.
Rape survivors have reclaimed their identities and gone to court. Nevertheless, the price they are being forced to pay is too steep.
Remember the Unnao rape cases? It seems the bodies must pile up before the administration is nudged to sit up and take note.