Sunday, July 15, 2012

Public Menace and Public Outcry

It is already four days now, and the electronic media is playing out a shameless act of public molestation of a 17 year old girl that took place at 9.30 in the evening in Guwahati, the capital of Assam State in India. There are too many problems with the incident. The girl seemed to have had some altercation with a man inside the bar from which she was getting out when the incident took place. Who was this man? Did he instigate the mob to molest this girl and strip her? Some TV channels are suggesting that this was the scribe of a TV channel that broke the news first a day later. Someone else seems to have got a "raw footage" of the incidents without "the editing" by the news channel and has claimed that in the other video the audio can be heard of the scribe saying to another person how he had "organized the incident". Was the editing of the footage reason for delaying the telecast by a day while every channel fights to shell out "breaking news" as it happens?. 

The second point is, giving benefit of doubt, considering that the molestation took place on the instigation of another person, the TV channel has rightly pointed out that if it were not for the footage the criminals would have gone scot free as there would be hardly any evidence against them. This is absolutely true. In India, every day hundreds of women are abused, molested or raped. But things don't get the importance if it were not for TV footage. Why is this? Why each case is not taken seriously and has to wait for the media to take stand? 

There is a National Commission for Women. I have serious problem with this commission as their job seems to be just taking reports and sending out reports. Other than this, the commission looks like a toothless tiger. I have never heard of the Commission having charged anyone or a government and brought them to book. There is a need to give ample powers to this Commission so that it can take punitive action. Now, look at this: there is an unwritten law that a victim of molestation or rape or a victim who is a minor (below 18 years) is never named to protect the identity of the person so that the person can live a normal life. Can anyone believe that the officials of National Commission for Women, while addressing the media, revealed the full identity of the girl? This is callousness and the official must be shunted out of the office and suspended. Unless we send out strong signals to officials, such callousness will continue to live on. Responsible channels like CNN-IBN showed the media brief but by blocking the name of the girl with a beep. This is responsible journalism. 

The Chief Minister of Assam has promised action and has given deadline till 16 July evening to catch all culprits. The police has managed to get only 4 so far. Probably many molesters have already escaped the police net and have become fugitives in neighboring states.

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