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Millennium Post

Double whammy

There seems to be no end to our ever more heinous tales of sexual brutality fused with religious bigotry. The latest example of rampant deterioration of law and order, extreme gender and sociocultural insensitivity comes from Meerut, where a 20-year-old woman teacher was allegedly raped after being forcibly converted to Islam.

In a climate of simmering discontent and communal clashes, with the districts of western Uttar Pradesh including Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur having barely recovered from the death and gore of deliberately spectacularised and engineered riots, such instances of legal violation and sexual violence should not only be thoroughly condemned but also immediately acted upon. The utter misfortune of our times is the fact that no matter what be the reason for social uncertainties and tensions, they are, more often than not, vented out on the bodies of women. Whether it’s the Badaun rape and murder, or the Meerut rape and forced conversion, women become the target of territoriality between men representing various interest groups. Hence, irrespective of the fact that it was a Dalit versus Yadav clash, or a Hindu versus Muslim violence, it’s the woman who pays the price as the battle gets transcribed on the body. However, what is even more disconcerting is the deafening silence on the part of national media to speak up in this peculiar instance.

Unlike the 16 December gangrape case in Delhi, which precipitated national outrage and forced the union government to spruce up the anti-rape Act, there is very little anger from the self-proclaimed spokespersons for the our subaltern. In fact, unsubstantiated reports allege that the young woman’s fallopian tubes were removed after she was gangraped once she refused to undergo religious conversion. While we need to thoroughly condemn this individual crime, we also need to contextualise it and trace its barbarism to the ill-gotten and warped education that has been institutionalised in the form of madrasas. Unless we create greater awareness of secular and gender equality, a just and democratic system will be a far-fetched dream.    
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