“I will give you a tight slap.”
That was our beloved CM of Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee’s erudite response to a student who was asking her why no arrests had been made on the recent Ranaghat rape case. For the first time in her tenure, the ‘maatir maanush’ was gheraoed on NH34 while her return from Nadia. Nadia why? Because she’d gone there to meet the Ranaghat rape victim, and express solidarity.
Being an Indian girl in the 21st Century has trained me to be cautious of the length of dress I wear, the language I use on the street, and the company I choose to hang out with. I should be home by 6 or something fatal would befall like it befell the 23-year-old medical student on the night of December 16th 2012, in Delhi. Also, I am taught to behave properly when in front of men and I am instructed not to react however uncomfortable I feel about lewd comments on the bylanes. Another routine act for an Indian is to find daily news and print covering rape cases, molestation, domestic violence and other crimes against women on a regular basis.
It wasn’t a surprise when I read the headline on Sunday morning “Another Case of Rape in Bengal.” It was only when I dived into the matter that I experienced strong chills running down my spine. A 71-year-old nun residing at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in West Bengal’s Ranaghat was brutally assaulted in her attempt to fight back the perpetrators who were molesting the young nuns in the complex. The word ‘nun’ with the number ‘71’ only added to my shock.
Nuns are one of the most properly dressed women in the country in exact contrast to the ‘westernized’, ‘shameless’, ‘skimpy-dressed’ females that bring only shame to the culture. This 71-year-old nun who stood up for the other few nuns in the first floor of Ranaghat’s Convent of Jesus and Mary against the goons who had barged in, was dragged and brutally raped in the early morning hours. The approach was a very casual one, just like the attitude of the CM against the rapists. The rapists laughed, joked, had some bread and bananas from the fridge in the room. Then they started by desecrating the chapel, tore off the rosary beads along with the tabernacle, dragged the nun and raped her in another room. The whole incident took place in the premises.
Following the same, a series of rallies and protests jolted Bengal from the dusty roads of Ranaghat to the uber-sanctified Park Street. Students, activists, Sisters, and people from all walks of life joined in to demand arrest of the culprits as no substantial wording from the CM was established till then. And as mentioned above, the CM only had a ‘tight slap’ to offer in her defence.
Blame then, is the name of the game. It seems to be the upcoming national sport of the nation, as also a favourite of the daring ‘didi’ for she was quick to aggressively retaliate, falling back on the conspiracy theory, like always, blaming the CPM and BJP for triggering fierce protests.
The game continues with some of the most ‘seasoned’ political leaders raking the nation with their crude sexist remarks. A police commissioner of the business capital of India in defence of rapists advises us to “choose one between promiscuous culture and a safe environment.” A greatly worshipped spiritual guru utters “The victim is as guilty as the rapists…She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop!” With the best response coming from the chairperson of a women’s commission in India – Women are “equally responsible” for the crimes against them.
What to do, who to blame? Let’s not think further and just come forth and play the blame-game! For, as an Indian politician said of the Delhi gangrape “Just because the country attained independence at midnight, is it proper for women moving at midnight?”
Now, who is to answer that!