Monday, December 17, 2012




GANG RAPES – in Delhi, in Haryana, in Assam, in Bangalore – it is really maddening to hear of them, day in and day out.

But, where is the Punishment? How deterrent is the punishment? How long does it take to find and punish the gang rapists and gang molesters – even when video recordings are available? And, they are not available?

These are essential questions – but still these become peripheral questions compared to the more important question of how to PREVENT rapes and molestations.

PREVENTION is the PRIME question.

It was about 17 years ago that I, for some time, used to travel in a particular train route to my office (and back) in Chennai. On almost every day, whichever train I boarded, I found EVE-TEASERS standing at the junction point of the second class General section and the women’s section of the same compartment and passing all, unbelievable, obscene comments on the women in the women’s section. Those days, there was a passage from this side to that side also. I do not know the present arrangement.

The Eve teasers used to go from General side into the women’s side, look, and point at each women – of all ages – from age 6 to age 70 – and pass “no words barred” comments on them. I discussed with some of my male co-passengers on advising the eve-teasers to desist from such things. Each one of them refused on the ground that if we advice them, they will turn violent against us and against the women as well. They were probably right. They are rogues who wouldn’t listen to us. This was my daily routine in the train for over 15 days.

After 15 days, I wrote out a detailed letter of about 10 pages to the Southern Railway Public Grievances cell – on all these happenings, and gave about 20 suggestions to prevent such Eve-teasing.

Within about a week of receiving my letter, 2 Police officers of sufficiently high rank from the Southern railway visited my office, sought to know whether I had written the letter and also sought more details on how grave are these happenings. I told them very frankly that- their or my mother also are unsafe in that route. If a girl is caught alone on the women’s side, these rogues will definitely molest and rape her also. Even in big groups, the ladies of any age are being so much harassed and feeling so much unsafe.

After some time, I got several letters from the railways on the type of action taken by them. They had taken the severest possible action on these eve-teasers, in each train, for over a month – and I heard personal accounts from many co-passengers later about how wonderfully and sternly the Police had tackled the Eve-teasers. Believe me, for the last 17 years now, there is not much of eve-teasing in that train section in Chennai.

To an extent, it is there in many cities, in some bus routes – in buses plying on routes where some male-dominant colleges are there. It is true that the boys may or may not dare to actually touch the women passengers, but short of that, the nuisance they create in those buses is unbearable for all passengers, especially women. 

Should Police be waiting for complaints – for what is possibly a daily affair? The conductors and Drivers are also a much harassed lot in those bus routes.

Hardly 5% of the students would be committing such nuisance, but, there is no one to check their unruly behavior in Buses.

I have seen similar things in Chennai and Delhi. Possibly, this may also be there in Mumbai , Kolkata and other cities.

GANG RAPE is of course the WORST POSSIBLE CRIME against women. How do you prevent Gang Rape? How do you prevent gang molestations? How do you prevent Gang eve-teasing? Then, how do you prevent Individual level rape, molestation and eve-teasing?

In any crime, a pro-active approach is the BEST APPROACH – to prevent crime.

All the above crimes are EMINENTLY PREVENTABLE. They are preventable very, very easily. Just that, our Politicians and our Police must rise above their narrow Politics.

We must first tackle every EVE-TEASER  in every Bus across all cities in India as firmly as the Southern Railway Police did 17 years ago, on my simple letter containing over 20 odd-“non-violent” suggestions. They ignored all my suggestions of course; but they just took the anatomy of crime that I had described and tackled it very heavily and very effectively in their own known ways. I am thankful to them and congratulate them for doing it. THEY HAVE PREVENTED CRIME AGAINST WOMEN  for a long, long time to come.

WILL INDIA DO IT in all of its cities?

We can’t say, I won’t act against students, because, students backlash will be there, this and that. Face it for once. I repeat, hardly 5% of students or even less will be actually indulging in EVE-TEASING. But, potentially, they may be the sons of powerful politicians or belonging to other political or social groups. This is possible. Do we act against every EVE-TEASER, irrespective of their parents’ position? This is the crux of the issue. We must ACT on this Hard core 5% eve-teasers so that the other 95% students will heave a sigh of relief. Also, so that, women traveling in trains and buses, which is 50% of our population heave a sigh of relief. 

I have two distinct suggestions. The first one is – for the Governments of each District, each state, and each city. The second is – to the women’s organizations.

(1) Government must tell the students that they must mind their studies and never ever commit eve teasing. Government must ensure that - Education teaches them character. Tell this sternly to the Principals and managements of the schools and colleges. I can definitely say, LESS THAN 5%  of students only are actually involved in such EVE-TEASING activities – and others are unable to prevent this HARD CORE 5%. 

If you tackle this 5% on the Buses, at Road-side, in the Bus stops, in the trains, in railways stations and so on, PROACTIVELY and WITHOUT WAITING FOR COMPLAINTS, as sternly as needed for about a month on daily basis, we would be preventing many future GANG RAPES, MANY INDIVIDUAL RAPES, many molestations and many eve-teasings – for a long, long time to come. Subsequently, a weekly surprise check is all that is needed. But, that surprise weekly check must be a MUST.

On a pro-active basis - It is VERY EASY to locate the EVE-TEASER. It is not easy to locate the rapist. It is not possible at all to locate the GANG RAPISTS – until after the event. 

But, today’s eve-teaser is the potential rapist or even a gang rapist of tomorrow. So, the law can and must prevent EVE-TEASING first and the eve teaser must be handed down stern punishment. If 10 students or workers are other groups are found to be involving in EVE-TEASING, round them up and put them for 10 days behind bars. That is enough of a punishment. The college or school must suspend them for one year. Do that in all metro cities once – and stand your ground if student unions protest – at least once –there will be sufficient deterrence for eve-teasing – and potential rapes and gang-rapes.

(2) My second suggestion is to the women’s organizations. They must tell all Governments – either you act against eve-teasers or we will vote against you – as simple as that. Eve-teasing in public places is the most easily preventable crime. No Government can or should ignore it. If this is done, rapes and gang rapes will come down very fast and very significantly.

(3) All rape and Gang rape cases must be adjudicated by a special judge nominated for the purpose. He must ensure that the trial and punishment are OVER WITHIN 3 MONTHS. Make this a law. The judge and the superintendent of Police together are to ensure this.

(4) Personally, I feel, GANG RAPISTS, against whom, sufficient evidence is available, MUST BE HANGED.   I don’t think, even murder is a greater crime than GANG RAPE. It is not pardonable at all. In other cases, may be, the individuals can be reformed, or, may be, evidences may never be sufficient, or may be, there could be fictitious complaints and so on. So, in them, it will depend on the case.

(5) In any case, EVE-TEASING is the most easily preventable crime. INDIA must prevent it TODAY. We can’t delay it for the next 5 year plan.

(6)At the end, I also want to put in another small opinion. Some women say, they must have TOTAL FREEDOM to wear any DRESS even in Public according to their choice. I am definitely not in agreement with that argument. Though no man has ever done that, how would it look, if some men go without any dress below the navel? Obscene. Right. In respect of women, a similar logic applies especially for the front portion.  This country is neither advocating Burkha as in the west Asian countries nor total nudity as in western countries. 

It is not advisable to wear a dress which evokes sexual interest even in decent men especially in public places. Men and male hormones are made biologically to be attracted in such cases. But, of course, this is not given as the main ground for eve-teasing or other crimes. But, it is also another ancillary reason for it.  I am not saying something new. Lord Siva (forcefully attracted by Vishnu in Mohini form), Viswamitra (forcefully attracted by Menaka) and so many ancient examples are given only for our wisdom.  Adi Sankaracharya has made it VERY, VERY EXPLICIT in his BHAJA GOVINDAM slokas also. Almost, every wise man has said that. The male-female laws of attraction have not changed much from those days to this day. But,Yes. Male and female Potency is coming down gradually, possibly due to over-exposure of female sexuality. There are so many recent studies on this aspect.

Now, if some women want to ignore this biological fact and claim total freedom to wear or not wear anything – they will find many men agreeing with them – but, I am not in agreement with that. Here also, I do agree, that over 95% of women do wear reasonably decent dress. The 5% indecently dressed women pose problems not only for themselves – but also for well-dressed women. This is the unfortunate problem. The psychology of eve-teasing and rape is still not understood – either by women or by men – sufficiently.


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