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Millennium Post

For words are not enough

A lot has been written about the gangrape and brutal abuse of a 23-year-old para medical student in a moving bus last Sunday and the mass protest against it. The action of the police against the protesters has also been scrutinised with the men in uniform drawing wide-spread anger and criticism for their high-handed act against the protesters. The nation has also discussed the silence of the Prime Minister on the issue and expressed disappointment with his cold delivery when he finally chose to break his silence on the issue. But has anything changed? Not really. The condition of the victim continues to be uncertain. After two days of police shut down of Metro stations and making the area around India Gate inaccessible to protestors, rumours are rife that the capital is on alert, following possibilities of a worsening in the victim’s health, or god forbid, death. And people, especially women, are still scared to step out of their homes.

The death of a police constable in the melee surrounding the protests, allegedly after being roughed up by the protestors, has added to the atmosphere of uncertainty and suspicion. Though, the police by their use of brute force, have alienated mass sympathy, the constable was, in a way, just another common Indian with only his badge setting him against the protesters. The photograph of his  sobbing daughter carried by many newspapers on Wednesday will not fail to move many. And it is possible that should another incident take place bringing common agitators face to face with the police, the behaviour of the late constable’s colleagues will be coloured by their memories of his death. What then has brought the common people expressing their angst at the increasing crime graph in the state against the forces that are supposed to protect them?

The condition in the city is definitely a far cry from the usual upbeat, party mood that accompanies the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. The stalemate has to change. The time for words is gone. It’s time to walk the walk. The government, led by the Prime Minister has to act. Stray official bulletins from members of the ministry on formation of fast-track courts or adequate policing won’t do. For the people now are as frustrated with the powers that be, as suspicious of their acts, as they are with the criminals. The society has to change, the governance has to change and India has to truly become the democracy ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’, that it claims to be. With a handful of days left before the end of 2012, the authorities and especially the Prime Minister, will do good to draw up a new year resolution, that should start with being more approachable and winning the trust of the people. They should also take a break from FDI and other scam-friendly measures, to take a hard look at the Indian society and plan social and awareness-building programmes that strengthen the character of the nation.
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