The day President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petition of Surinder Kholi, who was found guilty in the rape and murder of children in the Nithari locality of Noida in Uttar Pradesh, down south the capital of Karnataka, Bangaluru, was witnessing a demonstration. The protestors were demanding the immediate arrest of the accused persons in the rape of a six year old child, a student of Vibgyor International School in the city.
The child was raped on the campus premises of the elite school on July 2; but the news was leaked to the outside world only after two weeks, on July 17. Even though the parents had approached the school authorities demanding immediate action, the government shrugged off the issue stating that the school was not responsible for any happenings on the school premises. The public took up the issue and protested together with the enraged parents of the children studying in the school against the government inaction. The protestors demand that the guilty be hanged and that the police carry out a thorough security verification of the school staff.
But all the turbulence, apparently, doesn’t seem to have affected Siddaramaiah's Congress government. Several other shocking reports also came to light following the uproar. Twelve rape cases including that of minors were registered in Bengaluru in the last 15 days. Public also criticized the feeble response from the police despite three similar complaints lodged earlier. Amnesty International, the human rights organization, has urged the school authorities to effectuate the necessary safety and security guidelines to protect children from sexual harassment.
Sexual abuses against women have always been a sensitive issue. Whenever any such incidents occur, the country, as a whole, rises from its snooze, to extend its support and declare solidarity with the victims and their families, staging rallies and pressurizing the government into formulating new laws and guidelines. But the repeated episodes of similar incidents reinforce the fact that no law is actually being implemented pragmatically.
Justice Verma Commission brought in major amendments in the Indian penal code, criminal procedures, the Indian Evidence Act and even the child safety laws against sexual abuse following the Delhi rape case which triggered a massive outrage all over the nation. After the Vibgyor rape case, suggestions like separate bathrooms for male and female staff and banning of individual extra tuitions for children have been raised. Politics-police mafia is being widely criticized and held responsible for making Bangeluru a hub of sexual abuse, even outstripping Delhi. The Congress, who initially entered the scene to deal the issue politically, is busy with pointing out the drawbacks of the BJP government rather taking pains to arrest the culprits and boost up the investigation. The criminals, in turn, get a chance to carry out the immoral acts without fear.
The country has reached such a point where our children are not safe even at home or at school. The stories of repeated sexual abuses in Delhi, UP, Badhayun, Bangeluru, and even Kerala plainly elucidate that it is certainly not due to the scarcity of laws, but due to the failure of rigorously implementing them by the government. It is time one realize the predicament of our nation where the safety of the lives of its citizens is, apparently, not the government’s responsibility. Discourses surrounding the tackling of sexual abuses are copious nowadays. The importance of alerting and educating children to counter sexual abuses and teaching them the acts of self-defence is also being considered.
Things have reached a point where the citizens have to take care of their own safety. What could be done to rectify the laxness on the part of the government whose prime responsibility is to put an end to crimes and ensure social security? The question is unanswered and the disillusionment has triggered the incidents earlier in Delhi and now, in Bangaluru. It is impossible for a government to move ahead by neglecting the public dissent to ensure their safety and safeguarding the criminals.