Backpacking in India is sinister, and vehicles continue to aid rape

Backpacking in India is sinister, and vehicles continue to aid rape

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Anwar, Taxi Driver in Kolkata takes the #SafeCityPledgeWhy? That’s simple. Licences, permits, and paperwork can be bought for monies, and then there’s the mindset. Getting past all of this will dig out many more irregularities of mind, and office. So, have you heard of GPS, CCTV, screening of vehicles, and personnel, psychiatric evaluations, safety, helplines, fingerprints, sympathy, promptness and many such fancy words? Chances are you have. However, you’re being forewarned that nothing works here. It’s a system that’s moving only with the brute force called too many people, and no control over anything.

Rape after rape after rape, and nothing changes. Being shocked about what you read in the media is a very small truth of what’s really happening. The gruesome crime of gang rape continues unabated in India. The most recent is the gang rape of a tourist in Manali. She couldn’t find transport back to her hotel, and accepted a lift from a truck driver who along with his two accomplices drove her to a secluded area. The faith she displayed is in many ways much more than any woman here would dare to show. Her’s is a story of despair. You simply don’t take a lift from truckers because we’re certain of rape. And she paid the price and affirmed what all of us already sense. It’s an unspoken thing. We just know it. Backpacking just ain’t going to cut it here.

Just last month, a brick kiln daily wage labourer and his young family took a lift. Well yes, same story different day. There’s no brotherhood or sisterhood, only sinister tales waiting to be told. Beguiled by the driver’s request to buy some food, the husband got off the truck. No sooner had he left, the truck driver started the vehicle and took off. She feared for life, and safety and threw her children off the speeding vehicle, before taking the plunge. Her little daughter and she didn’t survive to see the morning, and her son is in hospital.

There’s countless rapes in cars too. Sometimes because someone takes a lift, and at other times at the hands of known perpetrators. The government did object to tinted glass on car windows, and for a while the cops were charging offender’s a fine, and even tried their hands at ripping the tint. Then summer came along, and it simply got too hot to do the job anymore, or maybe it got boring, or we all forgot. That’s not a bone of contention here though. The tint in the glass isn’t the problem, it’s the thick veil that clouds male judgement.

Not everyone can always afford city taxi services where a sense of security prevails because there’s a not of everything. With public transport options limited, and letches staring down at rickshaw stands ( not all drivers), the scenario is bleak everyday, everywhere. A simple solution would have been 20 hour public transport networks each day, but is anyone really listening. Maybe all of the disposable resources are concentrated on highway and flyover construction. Just maybe, dealing with rape with the same fervor will be on the agenda next. Until then stay put, and certainly no backpacking. Seriously, no lifts from strangers. But there is hope, however small.  Anwar, a taxi driver in Kolkata took the #SafeCityPledge. ” I have been driving taxis for now 24 years. I will protect lady passengers who take my cab after 9 pm. Will ensure that the doors are locked from start to finish. I won’t stop the car mid route” Maybe many more will do the same.