The fact that women are safe in the 21st century has only remained as a charade in India. The men in our country are exceptionally creative and with each additional crime against women across the country, the level keeps increasing, and so does their confidence and fearlessness. Now, to think that law and order or the government can suppress the crime rate is gradually inching closer to the false hope we are evolving in ourselves.
It may have been years ago, but everytime the word ‘rape’ is in the headlines, ‘Nirbhaya’ still crosses the mind. Not because she was the only girl raped that brutally, but because she awoke the need for the kind of justice our country is incapable of delivering. Even then, the victims had political backing and managed to live for so long, on their terms, which is definitely not a punishment. It took Nirbhaya’s lawyer, Seema Samridhi, 7 long years to even get close to the verdict the accused deserved and even then, it kept delaying. The defence lawyer, A P Singh, was termed shameful to state, “If my daughter was having premarital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend, I would have burnt her alive.” which gathered objections on many notions.
Meanwhile, another girl has been allegedly raped in the Sonarpur area of Dinajpur district in Mamata Banerjee ruled West Bengal. The girl was just 16 years old and had recently cleared the West Bengal Madhyamik Exam. While the police chose to believe that it was not a case of assault or rape, the villagers around the area claimed otherwise. She was allegedly raped and then left to count her last breath.
On inquiring further, it is alleged that the girl was, indeed, being harassed by 5 men who were looking for her the day before. “My sister went missing since night. After looking for her the entire night, we finally found her body near a banyan tree in the morning. There was poison in her mouth. She was raped. We are suspecting that five Muslim men, who were looking for her yesterday, had murdered her.” stated the victim’s elder sister.
“Today morning Islampur PD received reliable information about the death of a young girl of Chopra PS area. Family members or any other associated persons didn’t inform Police. Police contacted the family and sent the body for Post Mortem.” said the West Bengal Police. It further added, “Inquest by a magistrate and videography of the Post Mortem was done. As per the PM report cause of death is ‘effect of poison’. No injury marks anywhere in the body has been found. There is no sign of sexual or physical assault. Though L&O problem has been created over the issue, yet no complaint has been lodged with the police.” through a tweet.
Though L&O problem has been created over the issue, yet no complaint has been lodged with police.(3/3)
— West Bengal Police (@WBPolice) July 19, 2020
The girl is now identified as the daughter of a local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Booth President. As per reports, she was abducted sometime in the earliest morning when she had gone out to use the toilet. She was, allegedly, taken to a place near Chopraganj in Sonarpur Gram Panchayat and brutally gang raped by the abductors who then poisoned her and dumped her body nearby her house.
On realising her absence, the villagers searched for her and found her under a banyan tree, unconscious. She was initially taken to a local healthcare centre and then shifted to Islampur Sub-Divisional Hospital where her condition started slipping. After informing the police, the victim’s body was sent for post mortem. The police recovered a money bag, Aadhar card, and a mobile phone from the crime scene and found a bicycle parked not too far away from the spot. “We have launched an investigation into the case. The search is on for the perpetrators.” stated Sachin Makkar, the Superintendent of Police from Islampur.
Taking to the political aspect of the crime, BJP Bengal took to Twitter making an onslaught against the state CM and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, Mamata Banerjee. “A 16 years old girl raped by Feroz Ali in Chopra. She died today Morning. Did she pay the price of being the sister of the local BJP Booth President? And sadly, a state governed by a woman CM cannot protect its girls.” read the tweet by the official state unit of BJP.
A 16 years old girl raped by Feroze Ali in Chopra. She died today morning. Did she pay the price of being the sister of the local BJP Booth President? And sadly, a state governed by a woman CM cannot protect it's girls. pic.twitter.com/Fw7Fp4v6hJ
— BJP Bengal (@BJP4Bengal) July 19, 2020
As a result of this, BJP supporters came down to protest by blocking National Highway and causing a heavy traffic jam. The matter had gotten so out of hand that the police had to resort to laathi charge and release tear gas.
“It is clear how TMC miscreants are creating fear and indulging in such activities in the area. We demand the arrest of the accused and the criminal to be hanged to death.” said BJP leader Surajit Sen. BJP MP, Raju Bista, also put forward his concerns stating, “In the past few years, Chopra has seen an exponential rise in illegal infiltration and crime as well. The region once peaceful, has today become a hotbed of crime and criminals who receive political patronage from the party in power. Crimes, especially against women, have risen sharply, yet the West Bengal government has turned a blind eye to it. Despite having a woman as the chief minister, West Bengal ranks among the states with the highest number of crimes against women.” Bista was quoted as saying.
“This is because the TMC has time and again subverted law and order to suit their political purpose. Instead of the rule of law, the rule of TMC is allowed to run its writ in West Bengal. The Constitution is sidelined and criminals are given protection and political shelter by the party in power.” stated the anguished BJP MP.
West Bengal Tourism Minister and TMC leader, Gautam Deb, however, assured for action against those responsible for the crime. “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed action in the case. The government will arrest and punish those involved in this. A TMC delegation will visit Chopra area and meet the family on Monday.” said Deb.
The blame game is on its peak in the state, however, the crime against women and people have sworn in to remain intact in the state. The fact that our leaders choose to play the blame game and belittle each other with harsh comments and attack each other personally, rather than coming together and finding a proper way to deal with such offenses, regardless of which party who belongs to is disappointing.
Not just in states, but to witness such aggressive competition even on national level, between Congress party executive leader, Rahul Gandhi, and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is disappointing. Bringing in light, the twitter battle that took place between the party in power and the opposition over workers being sent to their hometowns in buses. For some reason, the democracy bestowed upon us does not quite feel rightly allowed to exercise. No matter how merciless the crime is, how brutally the victim suffered, or how extremely the victim’s family is affected, be it cases of rape, domestic violence, other offenses against women, or just offenses in general, somehow the leaders that we choose manage to make it about them, than about the affected and how he/she can be compensated.
Not just female lives, but also human lives, in general, do not matter to the people that we so trustingly elect. Over the years, politics has become something driven by personal agendas than a mere attempt to serve the people. To write a crime story like this, it makes me feel ashamed of calling me a part of this society which has people who have no humanity left in them to commit a heinous crime like rape and then murdering the victim fearlessly.
The life of an innocent minor girl has been brutally snatched away, while the blame game still has a part to play. All the crimes that have shaken the nation are dealt with as means of either gaining support and sympathy towards a particular party or to prove the opposite party less powerful and worthy. Over the 72 years of independence, and 71 years of being a democratic nation, the country seems to have lost the democracy motto “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”