By Tanaya Singh:
A teenage girl was sexually harassed in Guwahati on 10th July. Not in a dark lane or an empty warehouse, not by one man or a man with his friend; she was molested, in full public view, in an alert hour of the evening, right on the main street, by a group of 20 men. Evidently, some men were provoked when the young high school girl responded to a detestable remark made on her. She tried to stand up for her self-respect ended up being subjected to harassment.
The heart does not stop beating and fingers don’t stop shaking while one reads this news or watches the video tape. Yes, we have a video recording of the incident. That’s us; human beings residing in complete harmony, we record a live molestation like we Â record a marriage reception. HILARIOUS. I will come to the ironical part regarding the video in a short while. First, I shall talk to the multitude of people who stood right there, made round eyes, opened their mouths to reveal their shocks and looked at each other, or maybe even called some of their friends to give a firsthand narration of the once-in-a-lifetime scene they were witnessing.
SHAME ON THEM. These were the kind of people who will never be disgraceful, not even a tad bit, about what they have done. Because they have a million excuses. Who are we to call them wrong? They were just standing there. They didn’t touch the girl. And moreover, how could they stop the mob of those 20 barbarians. Weren’t they concerned about their lives? Sick! This shows we are sick and crazy bunch of living organisms. The onlookers of this crime are as much criminals as the other wild animals who were after the young girl.
To the women ‘onlookers’: You were scared for yourselves, so you stood there, a few meters from the spot where clothes of that girl were being snatched away. But let me tell you something. Because you didn’t speak up or take any action when you saw this, you will have no right to ask for help tomorrow. Or even day after, when you come out of a bar after celebrating your friend’s birthday and find yourself being groped by a group of men. You will have no right to shout with fear when you are unable to sleep because you can feel those hands everywhere on your body, each night of your life. You will have no right to shed a single tear when your daughter comes back home torn and devastated. Why, I ask you? Why didn’t you move, tried to stop them, evoked others to help that helpless little girl, shouted, cried, shrieked to bring an end to this shameful act before it could proceed to such limit?
To the men ‘onlookers’: What were you all scared of? That those brutes will tear off your shirts as well? You stood there like emotionless clay marionettes. Would each one of you have done the same thing if she was your sister? This country is so full of such flagitious crimes, that every reader can easily predict your answer to this. You’ll say, “My sister will never go to a bar or be on the streets alone in the night. She is a ‘decent’ girl.” This is exactly what you will say, but you know deep inside that these are the words of somebody who is not a man anymore. You have been converted into a coward, incapacitated and blind creature. Will power, a desire to do the right thing, an urge to cry your heart out against injustice; this was all that was required to stop the deed committed against humanity. And those of you who did take a step forward, but only and only to join the mob and steal your chance of touching the girl, go home, look into the eyes of your wife/sister/daughter/mother and tell her that you are a mentally sick and emotionally retarded person. Wish you had the guts to do anything even close to human.
To Assam Police: Mr. DGP, we all know that the police force is not an ATM machine. We are not that foolish. But we also know that if you can’t be present at the crime scene the moment one inserts a card, you can at least be there a few minutes after that. We didn’t ask you to put on your best garments before saving the girl, what took you 30 minutes to be at the place of need? Someone’s life was being ruined there; nobody was standing to take out cash from a machine. Please think before you speak and act before it’s always, always very late.
Finally to the great heroes who made the video: Great job. You made a video tape which is now helping the police to get a hold on the molesters. 4 out of the 16 identified men arrested, after THREE long days. Four is certainly a huge number according to the police and they thank you. I won’t ask you anything, I wasn’t there, I didn’t see what you did or tried to do. My question is directed to Mr. Atanu Bhuyan, the editor-in-chief of Newslife whose journalists recorded the event. Why are you giving hilarious statements to back your men? “The mob would have attacked them, prevented them from shooting, that would have only destroyed all evidence. The molesters would have been roaming scot free”, you said. Don’t you see the simple point here? If your men had tried to save the girl, or encouraged others to help them if they were failing to do so alone, the girl would not have been pulled, stripped, beaten and robbed of her respect. The molesters would not have got the encouragement that they can feel up a girl on the street, smile for the cameras, pose in front of them, make the girl forcefully look into the lenses, and then snug back into their hiding places. Come out of your business fenced, fantasy world; your reporters did no appreciative job.
The molesters? I can’t write in direct speech for them. But I can tell my readers that we live in a world full of wild beasts. We are no more in a place where brave men come up to save the damsel in distress. We live in a dangerous world, a world that smiles at the sufferings of others, and then joins in the stimulus of the pain. I want each of the men who dared to touch a helpless soul to be hanged, or better still, be left in prisons to decay; each and every day of their lives should pass in the darkness that would have surrounded the girl’s eye for those 30 minutes.
What do you want for them?