Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Women rendered powerless


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While at one level, leaders keep shouting from rooftops that they are helping to empower women, the ground situation is quite the reverse. Women are easy prey to the carnal desires and muscle power of those who wield power. That, at the receiving end of this aggressiveness was also an AAP Member of Parliament and former chief of the Delhi Women’s Commission, Swati Maliwal, is proof of how even women in highly placed positions are attacked or assaulted even in the power circuits. This happened right in the official residence of Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal. From the Prime Minister down, politicians of all hues act as saviours of women, more so in election campaigns because they believe that women are easy to be influenced and herded to polling booths to cast their votes in their favour. In reality, the plight of Indian women on multiple fronts remains worse as ever, even as sections of them managed to receive education and hold high positions.
Incidents of attacks keep happening in any society, mostly at the hands of men, and more against women by virtue of the males’ muscle power. But, in ‘civilized’ societies, how seriously the authorities look at such assaults, sexual or otherwise, makes all the difference. Many such cases here are stuck in a rut. Even in the case of the Swati Maliwal, the police was seen to be dragging its feet and not showing the nerve to file an FIR against the accused, Kejriwal’s aide Bibhav Kumar, though the first thing the victim did was to call the police. That the attack was serious is evident from a statement from AAP senior leader Sanjay Singh that the party condemned the incident and action would be taken against the assailant. Kumar is a former PA to Kejriwal, who had been removed from the post by the Vigilance Department after an inquiry into a 2007 attack case.
The maniacal sexual assaults of former prime minister Deve Gowda’s grandson and sitting MP from Hassan in Karnataka, Prajwal Revanna, hogged the headlines in recent days. The arms of the law are yet to catch up with him though weeks have passed since his notoriety got wide media exposure. Similarly, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi air-dashed to Kolkata as part of his election campaign and shared precious moments with West Bengal’s tainted governor Anand Bose, no word came from the PM for an investigation into the alleged sexual assault on a young female contract worker at Raj Bhavan. The incidents in Manipur were nerve-chilling. The fact of the matter is that after a few weeks’ of chest-beating, such cases are consigned to the back-burner. While high-profile cases get wide media attention, millions of poor women remain harassed and tortured sans any publicity.


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