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Another rape, still more incompetence: Time to teach Delhi Police a Lesson?

April 20, 2013

A five year old girl is now in a critical condition in a Delhi hospital after being brutalized and raped by a neighbour. The Delhi police, which has dealt with the situation with its characteristic incompetence, first refused to file an FIR when her parents went to the police station, and then, tried to bribe the girls parents with two thousand rupees so as to ‘hush them up’. Subsequently,a young woman who tried to protest against the behaviour of the police at the Dayanand Hospital were the girl was initially taken for treatment was slapped by a policeman, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, in full public view. His actions have been recorded on video. It is believed that the policemen who tried to bribe the victim’s parents and the policeman who slapped the young woman have been suspended.

But can the suspension of a few individuals address what is obviously a deep rooted culture of misogyny and class prejudice (what else is it but class prejudice – would a policeman in a thana, say in an affluent South Delhi colony be able to offer two thousand rupees as ‘hush money’ to parents of an assaulted child with the same ease with which they could in Gandhi Nagar in East Delhi) within the Delhi Police? Is more severe and strict action that goes right to the top and to the source, not necessary in order to send a signal that this kind of behaviour within the police force cannot be tolerated? Must Delhi’s police commissioner not be compelled to resign, for his abysmal failure in terms of dealing with sexism and for failing to address the contempt for citizens who are not affluent that is now clearly endemic to the Delhi Police’s work culture?

Can we take this daily routine of insults lying down? How long can this continue?

The young women and men of Delhi displayed exemplary fortitude and courage in the days following the tragic events of December last year when they took on the full might of the administrative, police and political apparatus in solidarity with the suffering that one of their own had to undergo. Clearly their coming out on to the streets has not changed anything insofar as the conduct of those in power is concerned. There has to be a change of plan.

A protest is planned today in the morning at 11 am in front of the Police Headquarters at ITO in Delhi. It would be good to see a lot of people turn up and say to the police that they have just had enough now.

Perhaps it is time to hand out an ultimatum. Either those at the helm of the Delhi Police offer time bound, concrete plans for how they intend to take steps that will ensure that policemen behave themselves while dealing with citizens, especially young woman, either the police commissioner resigns, or is hounded out of office, or the young people of this city take it upon itself to teach these hooligans in uniform, regardless of their rank, a lesson that they will not forget, in a manner, and at a time of their choosing. Care must be taken to ensure that protests do not turn violent, for that would be pointless. But there are many other ways, besides violence, of turning this city ungovernable, if the police and the administration once again demonstrate that they don’t really care about our lives, our rights, our dignity.

We have had a winter of discontent. Could this now be the beginning of a summer of open, outright rebellion? Only the coming days can tell.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2013 2:01 AM

    Reblogged this on Perception Synopsis.

  2. April 20, 2013 2:22 AM

    Though laudatory, I see that such protests have become routine. When the Government gave a damn to the siege of Raisina in December, it will not even bother acknowledging such protests. I think we have to accept, that we are damned to live in many Indias – Corporate India, Naxal India, Sexually Frustrated India, Communal India, Candle Burning India, Militant India, Casteist India, Corrupt India, Pappu India, Feku India, Facebook India etc etc etc..
    May this protest be a call for an outright rebellion – but who are we protesting against? Though the police response was outright shameful, is the real culprit the police or the rapist? We are all guilty. I don’t know what the solution is – but I know that the entire system in our country is *pardon my language* fucked up!! Is this what our thousands of years of heritage has brought us to..
    Now, may I say – Mera Bharat Mahaan?? Or do I just laugh in agony…

  3. dryogeshsharma permalink
    April 20, 2013 6:52 AM

    I pray for the innocent but unfortunate girl’s complete and speedy recovery and hope that she gets back to her playful childhood days sooner than later. The perpetrators of the crime, the beasts, the rapist of this heinous crime should be first subjected to a similar treatment in the public and then hanged. As I write this, I could not stop my eyes from getting filled with tears.Unless and until the judiciary improves itself in imparting a fast and toughest punishment nothing is going to improve. The police cannot be just blamed as even if they catch the culprit he will be treated with the best, lawyers for search of popularity will cue in to fight his case, human right activist will try to provide their concern for the well being of culprit, courts will try to decide that this rapist shall be eligible for writing some exams, some fascist NGO will come in the name of human right, some traitor civil society fascists will cry from the roof top in support of rapist, politician feel it a show time, instead of getting together and getting culprits to task, they will demand the entire govt. to resign so that they can ride the band wagon. Secularist will try to make a vote bank. We have seen enough even if the culprits are caught on the CCTV still they plead innocence and have six to seven years to play with Law before breath freedom, and this the culprits are so sure of this system that he went back to Bihar comfortably. Soft peddling of criminals by judiciary is the most important reason for this nation, turning a heaven for criminals, rapists, terrorists. One day one Digvijay or Katju will come and the criminal will a national celebrity.

  4. April 20, 2013 10:24 AM

    the police should round up and dismiss about 75% of their personnel, who probably paid hefty bribes to get a posting in the first place. erring policemen should also be displayed in stockades and the public allowed to jeer at them. the families of the suspended policemen should be singled out for social ostracization. there are many ways to make them behave.

  5. April 20, 2013 12:20 PM

    I agree with Rambler. It is time we stopped looking at our rulers ( who are supposed to be our servants ) for the ills plaguing our society. We, the masters have to improve first. Only then can we expect our servants to improve. It is the worst among us who become our servants. If we are weakened, the servants become masters. A social revolution of the type advocated by Swami Vivekanand, Mahatma Gandhi, Maharshi Dayanand et al is the need of the hour. Stop looking at the government or religion, two of the most backward social structures. Look within. Improve from within. Then servants dare not shirk their duty !

  6. venukmwpb permalink
    April 20, 2013 12:24 PM

    Attention radicals, anarchists & academics : At this juncture at least, will you please stop crying middle class middle class ?
    Will you please try a little homework to get the connections ? I mean, in between the culture of rape, callousness of the police, patrarchy ,fascism, neoliberalism, unorganized worker ,lumpenization of vast sections of labouring class ,and all? i
    It looks to be a very very complelling moment for the Indian revolutionary and progressive movements to think and act

    • April 20, 2013 5:50 PM

      I don’t know who you are talking about. I am an anarchist, and I try as far as possible to avoid using an inexact category like the ‘middle class’. I understand categories like Proletarians, and people who are not proletarians, i even understand caste categories, which have an objective empirical basis, but the term ‘middle class’ with its inifinite elasticity does not seem to be useful for anything other than vague discussions of life style choices. Where, in the current discussion of rape and sexual violence has anything to do with people being ‘middle class’ come up? I remain curious as to the reasons and origins for your outburst.

      • venukmwpb permalink
        April 21, 2013 12:14 AM

        Suddha,
        I didn’t mean to say anything in bad taste of the views expressed in your post here, or equally insightful articles elsewhere. On the contrary, I value them much .
        Actually , my comment here was a tangential reference to a section of ‘generic’ anarchists , radicals & academics, who in the past had expressed sort of scepticism about protests largely participated by those from urbanite middle class backgrounds. I was just reminded of a few writers who had felt that the kind of Dec-January women- youth -student -mass protests in Delhi against rape (rather, the culture of rape ) would not have happened at all , had the victim been a dalit or adivasi woman ,or if the perpetrator of the crime had not been someone from the labouring classes . Some of them even maintained that evenas rape and violence against dalit and adivasi women were routinely being committed by police and other state agencies insensitivity was at large among those urbanite middle classes .
        I would argue that progressive thinking and radical responses concerning gender crimes ought not to be constrained by the determinants of class and caste, though the latter will continue to have its impact on where do the peoples struggles take us.

        • April 21, 2013 11:43 AM

          Dear Venu, thank you for your clarification. I agree with you, I was as irritated as you are by those who expressed the view that the protests against the Rape incident in December were somehow ‘tainted’ by their so-called ‘middle-class’ character, a charge, which though untrue, somehow also implied that their is a hierarchy of victimhood, which is a view I find ethically spurious and politically naiive.

    • April 20, 2013 10:02 PM

      Shuddha is indeed intelligent. Is he wise also ?

  7. April 20, 2013 12:31 PM

    is this the shortest piece by shuddha ever?

  8. April 20, 2013 6:06 PM

    The action of the police is not so much ‘sexism and misogyny’ against a 5 year old girl, but more ‘classism’ for her labourer parents.
    By this logic, their actions make complete sense (to them) —
    “these people are poor and of no account, no powerful friends, and no one to speak for them. 2000 rupees seems ok to send them away, and avoid a lot of paperwork. Who really cares if a labourers child is raped?”

    Western educated commenters mimic the discourse of the ‘classless’ west, and so class doesn’t really come up here as a factor either. How can it, when our maids at home often have no days off, poor pay, and sit only on the floor in front of us.

    • April 21, 2013 12:04 PM

      Dear Sameer, I agree with you, and class prejudice is certainly a strong factor in the way in which the police handled this situation, as well as earlier instances, remember for instance how the NOIDA police serially neglected the complaints of Nithari residents about missing children until the Nithari case exploded in their face. I am amending the text of my post in order to have class explicitly count as a factor in the way in which this situation has unfolded, and am thankful to you for pointing out this omission.

      I am curious though about your remarks about the ‘class-blindness’ of ‘western educated’ commentators, who exactly did you mean? If your comment is offered as a critique of what you think of as my unconscious biases may I venture to say that they are a tad off the mark. I have never been educated anywhere to the west of Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia. And most of my schooling (barring the last four years) was in a Hindi Medium school in North Delhi, following which I spend four years in an English medium school near Karol Bagh in West Delhi.

      And as for ‘class blindness’, may I point you in the direction of my postings on Industrial conflict, especially on the Maruti workers struggles, where you can see more than occasional comment from the partisans of the Maruti management that accuse me of a class bias that marks me, in their eyes as a partisan of what they are inclined to call ‘criminal workers” (indeed one of the things that i have heard being said is that my writing on that issue has incited ‘hatred’ against managements).

      The lady who comes to work in the house that I live in addresses me by my first name, has sundays off, regularly negotiates her wage, sits at our dining table and we occasionally exchange tea making duties, and then drink tea together while discussing what is happening in our neighbourhood and in the world, although she always complains that I do not put as much sugar in her tea as I ought to. Perhaps the ‘we’ you invoke with a rhetorical flourish in describing the relationships between ‘us’ and those who work as domestic help in ‘our’ homes is a little too sweeping.

      Finally, I simply cannot fathom what makes you think that class struggles and conflicts have disappeared in the ‘west’, if anything they have intensified. and it is actually impossible, even for pro -capitalist commentators to avoid invoking class while describing comtemporary realities of social conflict in western societies. I hope that you will take the clarifications that I have made in the spirit in which they are offered, best

      Shuddha

      • April 21, 2013 10:44 PM

        Well Shudda, I’d like to thank you for your rather even-tempered comment. Its not a common experience on the internet, by and large, so it was pleasant to receive.

        I’m not a regular reader at Kafila, having breezed in from a link via an email, so I didn’t realise until now that in fact YOU were the author of the article, and I was a bit puzzled as to why you took my comment so personally. (I did notice you had a lot of other comments, but honestly I didn’t read them after I saw one that started “I am an anarchist”.)

        Having clarified that, i hope you wont take my comments personally, since they aren’t meant to be. I was simply making a broad point that in India people in general ignore class when it suits them, led on by an education and moral system that pretends it’s either normal or doesn’t exist . And as for the west being ‘classless’ please note I did use ironic quotation marks. Irony does not do well online, I fear. And yes, it was rhetorical ‘we’ and ‘our’.

        In fact, I too discuss things sitting over tea with my maid (who’s tea is infinitely better than mine, luckily), so at least we have that in common.

        Cheers and regards,

  9. April 22, 2013 7:12 PM

    The pain of being a girl child in India…a gloomy reality, some gloomy observations. Go through it, it might appeal you..

    http://aryanzzblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/aryan-speaks-why-is-she-not-crying/

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