Nivedita Chakraborty and Archana Sharad headed to office when they saw a girl aged about 25 being beaten black and blue by a man. About 50 people were witnessing the public beating, and almost all chose to simply watch. So, why the general hullabaloo about how women’s safety is being improved?
Though in shock, the duo decided to take action. Rushing out of the vehicle, both girls attempted to push the man back in order to loosen his grip on the girl. All the while he was gabbing her hair, slapping her, kicking her in the groin, as she fell to the ground. Archana pushed the man, while Nivedita made efforts to untangle the girl’s hair from his fingers. Once freed, the trio took refuge inside the car. At this point, the man sat on the bonnet to prevent them from driving away.
The girl being publicly assaulted is Surya. She works in Bangalore. The man beating her is her father, RajaRam, a sub-inspector with Madurai police. Her mother who opted for a muted response is a teacher in Madurai. Surya’s parents had heard rumours about a relationship she was in, and had decided to teach her a lesson.
They refused to listen to Surya or believe her when she refuted the alleged affair. The policeman father wishes to forcibly take her back to Madurai and marry her to someone of their choice. All this against the wishes of an adult woman. Her mother blames Surya for the ‘shame she has brought upon her family’.
The girls called the police for help. A team arrived after half an hour, and escorted the family to Ulsoor Police station. While the parents behaviour is shocking, the silent spectator attitude is just as appalling. No intervention, or willingness to come to Surya’s rescue. No help was forthcoming when both girls chose to take action.
Sensitising Indian society is the latest focus area. Recently, a Bangalore Traffic Cop was caught on video thrashing a cyclist. His fault: He moved barricades to make way for an ambulance. How does sensitising function, if policeman practice archaic and cruel attitudes? It also brings to focus the pattern of abuse women endure. When did publicly assaulting an adult woman become a means of justice. Women’s safety sounds perfect but are they safe when protectors and enforcers of law resort to beating. India is also concentrated on improving its skilled workforce. Considering this begins with quality education, teachers and educators most definitely need sensitivity training, at the very least in the field of women’s safety.