Make Politics Safe for Women

‘Make Politics Safe for Women by Purging Undesirable Elements’

Make Politics Safe for Women

Madhu Sen, a writer with interest in social issues, art and culture, says the Swati Maliwal assault case should act as an eye-opener for Indian politicians. Her views:

The recent fracas at Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence between former Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal, a Rajya Sabha nominee of the Aaam Aadmi Party and Kejriwal’s PA Bibhav Kumar, sent shock waves throughout the country at the blatant outrage of a woman’s modesty. Even as a slug fest was let loose between political parties, some at hair splitting trying to downplay the sordid event, the scary fact remains that even a women of high office and a crusader of women’s cause is not safe at a place which unquestionably should be the safest considering it is the residence of a leader, who has pledged to be the custodian of the safety and security of the weak, poor, needy and the women.

It does not need Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery that when the din of the unfortunate altercation and scuffle that occurred at a high decibel, is audible to every corner of the house. Yet, no help came. Even as it has a political angle to it, the moot question is “Does any place exist where women can be absolutely safe?” Such misbehaviour with women in politics is increasing frighteningly. The gross misdemeanour by Congress party colleagues with Radhika Khera, is a recent incidence. Why is a fair background check not done for political candidates? Today, technology can be used to keep track of individual profiles and sifted to weed out rouge elements.

It dismays every right thinking citizen as to why women are being subjected to physical abuse, torture, rape and even murdered in the age group ranging from an infant to even senior citizens when all these years the political parties have been crying hoarse on the atrocities against women promising to make society a safer place for women anywhere and anytime of the day? When a Nirbhaya happens or a Sandeshkhali is unearthed, the nation sits up, cries foul, rallies for justice and stringent punishment for the perpetrators and the event dies a natural death for lack of political and administrative will, the advocates of injustice against women lose steam, and slowly the incidence dims into background as some other important news makes the headlines attracting everyone’s focus. The candle marches disperse disappearing in the crowd and the candle burns out. The voice seeking justice gets weaker and eventually dies out. The perpetrators of crime roam freely and brazenly. It’s a vicious cycle that the society is trapped in.

To make matters worse for the victim, cases are hushed up by flexing muscle or money power, and even political reach. Vested political interests and social dynamics including traditional beliefs have made women inconsequential, vulnerable. Even as the polls kick-started, the expose of over 3000 women being subjected to molestation, rape and then filmed by Prajwal Revanna and his cohorts shook Karnataka and the country while its heat was felt across political corridors. An elected MP from the Hassan Constituency is the grandson of former Prime Minister of India, H.D. Deve Gowda and son of H.D. Revanna, a senior politician of the state. Power can be heady and it corrupts. Again, the travel to Germany by Prajwal seems well-timed favouring the guilty of a heinous crime escape from being arrested. Again, the question arises – when the shady activities of Prajwal were going on for years, why were the political masters silent while his opponents were collecting indiscriminating evidence to nail him at an opportune time?

ALSO READ: ‘Women Safety in UP Has Noticeably Improved’

In the wake of all what occurred surprisingly he escaped the security net. Now with issuance of a lookout notice, his deportation and final arrest is eagerly awaited. Is the government dragging its feet on the case because of high-profile people’s involvement in abetting of the crime? Such news comes to the limelight, but the hundreds of poor, Dalit, tribal and Adivasi women are succumbing to the nefarious attacks with appalling frequency with no sympathy whatsoever from any quarter.

It’s a day too late, but it is required that such cases be tried in special fast track courts, and the punishment readout within 6 months from the occurrence of the crime. Public figures such as politicians must be barred for life from contesting elections. The police have to be taught soft skills and interpersonal skills to deal with sympathetic and sensitive cases. Use of technology to guard the localities against such predators, meaning more CCTV or probably drones can be used for computing the information and be agile in responding to distress calls. Sessions by counsellors can effectively alter the victims’ despondency.

Most importantly, it is the acceptance of such offenders by the society, which has a short memory that is a serious concern. In fact, repeated offenders must be dealt harsh punishment acting as deterrence to the rest of the trouble-makers. Lastly, political determination and fool-proof administrative measures are needed for policing localities, cities, which can scale down atrocities against women drastically. Make sure that you can understand distress signals and act swiftly to nab the culprit. A male child, like adolescent girls, must be questioned about their whereabouts and constantly monitored to nurture them as responsible individuals who treat women with respect and as equals.

As told to Deepa Gupta

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6 days ago

Very poignantly expressed with lot of sensitivity. Best part is that the author has not politicised the or polarised the issue towards any single party but brought into focus the need for improving the quality of leaders we deserve. Kudos Madhu, I wish there were more journalists like you

Dr Nitin Malekar
Dr Nitin Malekar
6 days ago

Hard hitting, direct. Thanks for sharing your views.

Vikas Khanna
Vikas Khanna
6 days ago

Violence against women in India remains a pervasive issue. Despite legal frameworks and laws aimed at protection and empowerment, many women still face various forms of violence. I second Madhu for her views.

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