Monday, January 2, 2017

BENGALURU’S NIGHT OF SHAME By Chaitanya Swamy

NB: This episode is an intensified version of what regularly happens whenever 'culture' makes an allowance for public intoxication, and bands of young men are 'expected' to take to the streets, supposedly to 'celebrate' something. Of course it is not confined to India - exactly a year ago women in many European cities were subjected to coordinated sexual attacks by huge gangs of men - most of them reportedly of North African or Arab descent. Whether this results from a particularly aggressive form of patriarchal tradition, or growing gender imbalance or a combination of these and other factors, is a open question. But the fact remains that for many men, the sight of women enjoying themselves or moving singly, is an invitation to sexual assault. Who are these men? and where and how were they brought up? and do the much-vaunted politics of 'sacred Indian tradition'; that talk of 'women's proper place' have something to do with it? Whatever be the answer, 'civil society' needs to recognise that it contains much ugliness, and that the ugliness is reflected in the behaviour of the police and the utterances of the state Home Minister as well. DS

A toxic culture, hell bent on casting young women as the root of problem

BENGALURU’S NIGHT OF SHAME When it comes to the safety of women, Bengaluru is no better than Delhi, and Saturday night was its final confirmation. Anarchy prevailed on the streets after 11 pm as revellers gathered in the heart of the city – MG Road and Brigade Road – to welcome the New Year. But despite “elaborate” security arrangements, women were molested, and children scared out of their wits, while male friends and relatives had a tough time protecting them from unruly men. And all this happened despite the 1,500 policemen deployed in the area.

Thousands of people, on bikes, cars and on foot, converged here for revelry. Though police had initially claimed to take all precautions to ensure an ‘incident-free’ New Year, it seemed they underestimated the nature of the mob. All hell broke loose close to midnight as hooligans in the garb of revellers started pawing, molesting and passing lewd remarks on women on the streets, forcing some of them to literally take off their stilettoes and run for help.

BM lensmen out on MG Road and Brigade Road on Saturday night became first-hand witnesses to this brazen, mass molestation of women, out in the open and in police presence.
Despite photographic evidence and eye-witness accounts, city police officially claimed that they have not registered a single case of molestation or harassment…

Civil society members have reacted with absolute shock over the gradual degradation of Bengaluru into a city unsafe for women. They pointed out that it was high time for introspection not only for the law enforcement agencies but also for the city’s residents. Some of them expressed shock and demanded that the police act against those responsible for such shameful criminal acts.

“It is disheartening to see where Bengaluru is going. We often hear such incidents in Delhi but hearing that shocking news from Bengaluru is really painful. I think the culprits should get caught and punished and that should be made an example. I think young men need to be educated on how to behave,” said Waseem Khan, a city-based fashion photographer.

According to the police statistics, Bengaluru had 690 cases of sexual harassment and molestation booked under Section 354 in 2014 out of which the accused in 22 are yet to be arrested. In 2015, the city had 714 cases of molestation and 171 of them are still under investigation. In 2016, the police registered 756 cases of sexual harassment and 559 of them are still under investigation.

“It is disturbing to know that such cases are on the rise in the city and each and every one of us should realise the gravity of the situation. It is not just the police but all of s have to take a conscious decision to respect women and inculcate strong values,” said Sathya S, a communication consultant and social activist... read the full article:

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