Sleepless in Whitefield and beyond……
It isn’t everyday that a rape of a 6 year old child happens in our neighbourhood (Thank goodness). But when it does, life turns upside down for many. Everyone reacted with horror and as the story started unfolding all the wrinkles crept in too. Did Mustafa really do it? Are the police really investigating this properly? Why was our Chief Minister not more engaged? Why is the Vibgyor school management silent and acting in a manner that doesn’t help their image? Why was our Police Commissioner transferred? Why was the School Chairman arrested after a difficult chase and yet released on bail instantly? Will this case see justice? More questions than answers. More confusion than clarity. But there are some undeniable facts.
- A 6 year old from the school was raped. And her testimony points at it having been done in the school by two men.
- The school management hasn’t been particularly forthcoming in public expressing their outrage and solidarity with the victim and family thereby lending fuel to rumors of management involvement in covering up the act.
- 231 cases of a range of such acts were booked in Bangalore alone since Dec 2012.
So what should you and I do? Ordinarily we would simply wait for the system to take its course and in an ideal state, justice to prevail while supporting the victim. But knowing all that we do about how this often turns out, can we afford to just sit back and wait?
Many are unable to do that, as the issue has affected them deeply and quite visibly too. Some people are hyperventilating as they talk. Some mothers are falling sick. Others have lost their voice or are waking up suddenly and sitting up awake for long periods at night. This beautiful drawing by Mahua Pal is her way of expressing her grief. This very affected group however is determined to go out and be constructive. They are looking for evidence, for loopholes in the case. They are visiting the Home Minister, Education Minister, the Child Rights Commissioner and more. They are reading up on the POCSO Act as well as engaging with other schools to review their safety procedures. They are learning how the case should be fast tracked and if there are any slip-ups. They are determined that this case should stay current in public memory and ultimately hoping for justice in this case and as a deterrent for future such cases.
And we hope through this uproar and outrage to set an example at the national level to demonstrate that this will not be tolerated by our society. And right now, their ask is that of one united voice from all of us. One voice that stays focused on the ask for justice for the 6 year old which comes down to booking the perpetrators and any one that covered up the act.
It has come down to you and me at an individual level. What you do now shapes our society. Are you listening to that inner voice? Will you make this “the” case that changed the course of rapes in Indian history? What did you do about it today?