On Monday night (April 30), a couple was thrashed by a mob of passengers travelling in the Kolkata Metro. Do you know why? Because they were standing too close and hugging each other.
To top it all, a comment from Metro Railway, Kolkata’s official Facebook page briefly stated that such vulgarity deserves such response and that such incidents will keep on happening if the “youth” don’t behave themselves.
The passengers travelling objected to the closeness of the couple and did not think twice to take matters into their own hands. The couple was not only assaulted, the girl was also sexually harassed. This news appals the democracy we often boast about and makes a mockery of the freedom we think we are living with and enjoying.
A couple being beaten up for something so trivial only goes to show that we have become extremely intolerant and anything that does not suit our representation, beliefs or values is wrong and needs to be immediately stopped by using violence.
In a country where violent turmoil takes place over the smallest of incidents, public outrage is seen most at places where it is required the least. The same people who assaulted the couple will never unite to outrage over issues that actually matter and affect all of us as a society. What’s more appalling is that people gathered around to encourage this show of power against an innocent couple. If we are getting offended because people in front of us are showing love, we better be outraged with people peeing on the streets, throwing garbage on the road, creating a nuisance on the streets, molesting, raping and assaulting kids. Why have these incidents reduced us to nothing but a society of onlookers? We better keep our phones ready in our hands for the next viral story we find at the corners of our houses and streets and stations instead of stopping it from happening.
The freedom of speech, liberty and other fundamental rights we generally boast about, become a joke the moment we open the newspapers in the morning while sipping fresh cups of tea. We only crib about the current affairs instead of changing our mindsets and becoming more tolerant.
We, as a society, have to understand that people do not live their lives according to our approval or for our approval. It is their own choice and right to live and portray themselves in front of the society as they want. It is more important to understand that we do not owe it to anyone to teach people “a lesson” for behaviour we do not approve of.
Beating the couple for hugging only goes to show that tomorrow, in some other state, people will be beaten up for talking, holding hands, spending time with their friends and doing anything remotely offensive to absolutely anyone. Is this the kind of freedom we are looking for?