This post is in memory of “Nirbhay” who was brutalised and murdered – shaking a stoid, careless nation to the core of its existance. Rest In Peace is all I can wish you….
- Fact No 1: Tinted Glasses were banned by the Supreme Court in 27th April 2012 in response to a Public Interest Litigation, which explicitly stated the risk of sexual assault in its submission to the court
- Fact No 1A: The apex court said it could not impose a total ban on use of tinted glass and interpreted rule 94 and 100 of the Motor Vehicle Act which forbids covering of the glass beyond the permissible limit. “In face of the language of the Rule, we cannot grant the petitioner the relief prayed for, that there should be 100 per cent VLT. This Court cannot issue directions that vehicles should have glasses with 100 per cent VLT.”
- Fact No 2: Nirbhay was assaulted in a bus with tinted glasses – dark tinted glasses
- Fact No 3: The bus was moving in the city in contravention of the rules, and was not stopped; the windows being tinted, no one could see what was going on inside
- Fact No 4: The police reform process has also been mandated by the courts of India – on which no action has so far been taken
Now the clincher: on an article on the ban on tinted glasses, I could not find a single solitary comment in support of the decision. Every single commentator could only see his side of the story. Well, to those gentlemen and ladies – it could have been your daughter or sister instead of Nirbhay…. think of that. Tinted glasses on vehicles are not acceptable…. and illegal. This incident raises social questions, true. But perhaps more than the security of women, what it also highlights is the careless attitude of Indians as shown in the paragraph above. We usually dont react until it effects us: how many of the protesters have removed tinted glasses from their cars? I would love to know! It is fine to protest; but actions should reflect in your own lives before you have the right to protest on the streets. How many of us actually respect women in the streets, and how many treat them as eye-candy just to ogle at as if they were a delectable pastry to be devoured? Change your attitudes, India!
But this incident also raises far more important immediate issues – policing, and antiquated rules. Note Fact No 1A – and how the rules prevent the supreme court from giving an blanket ban to make things simpler. It took us 62 years to bring out an updated Company Law, for pete’s sake! It is high time that this matter is taken center stage and attended to; the list of idiotic laws is far too long and horrendous to go into here…
As regards policing, why was the bus not stopped for its transgression of the rules? There are some reports that is was an unauthorised charter bus. How has this been allowed? Flagrant violation of the law is a norm in India; at least let Nirbhay’s passing away serve as a wakening call for all Indians. It affects us and no one else. We turn a blind eye to flouring laws at our own peril. At the end of the day, it comes back to hit us; sadly, it is usually the innocent that pay for the crimes of the careless Indian. The killers may have done the actual act of rape and murder, but Nirbhay was abandoned to her fate long, long before this incident – by we, the people of India who dont care about rules and turn a blind eye towards their violation. How many of us demand service and adherence to law from the Government and the police? Answer: No one. It is our disgusting attitude of encouraging rule-breaking that is the root cause of such crimes as far as their prevention is concerned. It is a no-brainer that in a clear-glass bus, this attack would very likely not have happened; as also with proper policing, it could have been prevented.
Which brings me to Police Reforms… we routinely demonise the police, but what do we do about it? Nothing. Precisely nothing. Despite having a supreme court judgement, no one has cared to ask the government as to why reforms are being delayed. I recently attended a police prayer meet and dinner. I could not see a single policeman or woman; all I could see were human beings. We do nothing to take the government to task, despite there being A Supreme Court Judgement in our favour. We keep silent, and worry about the Sun Rays in my car, we worry about the filth in front of my house forgetting the smelly railway station… I could go on and on. What right have we to question the police? Look inwards first! Sure, we know the Government is not acting, but what are we doing about it? Even ex and serving police officers are asking for reforms – but no. We are silent.
Very good, India. Please continue silence. Excellent. And come out and join emotional protests when things go wrong… and go back to your home and cars a few days later. Good, keep it up. Just dont ask the Government Of India to be accountable to the people on a regular daily transactional basis as opposed to sporadic outbursts. The Government can weather those with ease; as it did the Lokpal agitation. By the way, any of you remember the Lokpal agitation?
Alternatively, use poor brave Nirbhay as a wake-up call; understand that it is your family at stake and build a sustainable issue-based pressure on the Government to be accountable – truly accountable to the people.
Or else… another day, another time, another….
I sincerely do hope not.