Millennium Post

Delhi shames us one more time

Barely a day before Trinamool Congress’ women MPs were threatened in Parliament, an 81-year-old woman journalist, Rekha Duggal, was brutally raped and murdered in Greater Kailash-II area of south Delhi. The two incidents, although widely different in scope and impact, however reiterate the same, abysmally heart-wrenching state of affairs as far as plight of women in the country is concerned. While the former occurred as TMC members of Parliament sounded the caveats over rail budget, which left out West Bengal almost completely but for a few crumbs, the latter incident took place on Monday evening, when the victim, a veteran journalist, was sexually assaulted and fatally strangled, before her body was set on fire. Even though the accused, victim’s domestic help, has been nabbed and made to confess, the utter tragedy of the Capital’s women has been duly highlighted once again by this shameful turn of events. To put matters in perspective, whether it’s the hallowed corridors of Parliament or a posh south Delhi residence, women are unsafe in the so-called safest corners of the city, let alone the wild and ungovernable streets and dark alleys of the national capital and its sprawling suburbs. That an octogenarian can be raped and murdered, no matter what be the motives behind the crime, is a testimony to the collective depravity of a society that hasn’t till date learned to treat 50 per cent of its citizens as even human beings. The very nature of rape and murder is an expression of a peculiarly gendered bent of psychosocial violence, the spectre of which haunts women in every nook and cranny of this vast country.

      It is equally ironical that the brute wave of violence targets even the most educated and illustrious of women, thus dispelling the classist and patriarchal myth that it is illiteracy or lack of social stature that makes women vulnerable to poor despots. While the journalist was indeed murdered by her disgruntled domestic help, the TMC MPs were heckled and verbally abused in public by fellow parliamentarians. It is evident that the heart of darkness has very little to do with the demographic specifics, since whether it’s Badaun or New Delhi, women, from teenagers to elderly ladies, brave exactly similar threats even within the purportedly secure confines of their homes and work spaces. Even the TMC MPs whose modesty was outraged by elected hooligans had barely spoken when one of their own had threatened to rape women belonging to the political opposition! That rape, sexual assault has served as the chosen weapon of destruction on the part of men across time and space is nothing new. But the hypocrisy of modern times that spews gender sensitivity on one hand and becomes complicit in such sexual crimes on the other, is simply unpardonable.     
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