Leader Writer: Paojel Chaoba
It is a sad working hazard to carry stories of atrocities committed against children and women in the papers, yet the media has a purpose of disseminating events and facts to the public as news in myriad forms however sadly. The recent reports have seen a spurt of violence committed against women and there has been certain condemnable incidents of women being physically violated and later done to death scenarios. These incidents have been investigated by the police but has justice really been done, have the culprits been set free on bail? Of course, there are some incidents where the police have taken speedy action such as in the case of the tribal women who was raped while on her way to sell U-morok at Bishnupur bazaar. There is no doubt but that The home department need to pull up its socks and take effective action pertaining to cases of crimes being committed against women and young children to serve as an example that none can escape the long arm of the arm and swift justice is dealt. The forensic department needs to equip itself up-to date with the times and conduct ‘rewarding’ research as done in other states and countries. There has been negligible input from the State’s so called Forensic department so far and such incompetence has more or less led to providing an escape route for the lawbreakers. The specific cases of crime against women complied would state that women are being victimized in the state incessantly and the crime chart would be an uphill climb. Today saw a woman murdered at Yubraj Palli, with her death evoking such an unrestrained response wherein angry locals decrying the episode halted the traffic at Kakwa area and later imposed an indefinite strike throughout the State until the culprits are brought to justice. It still remains to be seen what incidents will happen during the imposition and how soon the police can nab the involved criminals if they are able. It comes to mind that when Thangjam Manorama was raped and murdered by security forces, the women organizations and the public thronged the streets en masse and the protest had hit the mark then. Since then, there has been negligible reports committed on women by security forces in such a blatant manner.
One feels that the need of the hour now is for the public to rally and put its foot down against the crimes committed against women and say ‘this is the last straw and enough is enough’ as done in the Manorama case. The momentum can be gathered through different ways and the use of social media as facebook, twitter etc to egg on the dormant public and to make them participate in whatsoever way possible. A simple texting to friends stating a call for halting the rampant violence against women can go a long way, one feels. On introspection, the crimes occurring today seem to be perpetrated by individuals who were close to the victim according to statistical data which is not to give the view that security personnel are never involved in such cases. Some were murdered by those whom they sought solace and placed their trust or by the ‘intimate enemy’, such enemies may be a wife beater, a voyeur or a bitter boyfriend. The incidents which occurred at Maklang, Kakching, Langol etc. saw involvement of persons whom the victims knew. Despite arrests made, many cases remain in cold storage and the culprits still roam freely. This shows a clear lack of training for the so called investigating officers of the Police department and smacks of the shadow of corruption. Violence against women is tied to the history of women being viewed as property and a gender role assigned to be subservient to men and also other women. The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) states that “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.” This statement may hold true or otherwise but it is safe to say that violence against women occur daily in myriad forms in the state and the ones that are reported are just the tip of the iceberg.
The Union Government finally highlighted the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2013 which was further endorsed by the President of the Nation recently. This happened due to the sheer pressure of the ‘Bus Rape’ incident which occurred at New Delhi. It may be said that once the Bill come into ‘Action’, then there may be paradigm shift and the offenders may think twice or thrice before committing any crime on women. But, it is felt that as an immediate balm to control the escalating crimes, the women of the State should rally through any means possible to shout and demand that the culprits be booked and stringent punishment be awarded,and this should be propagated in different mediums by the activists, meira paibis, clubs etc. The need is also there to fill up the moral deficiency in the society today and as a precursor, moral education and gender issues needs to be taught in the educational institutions of the State to the students’ up-to a certain level for the obvious long term benefits. Let us stop creating ‘intimate enemies’ and teach the upcoming generations that the softer sexes are indeed our ‘better halves’ and they should be treated with respect and love.