Sunday, March 10, 2013

Are women safe in Barak Valley?

Concern For Silchar wishes all its readers a very happy belated Women’s Day. Yes, we are a couple of days late, but discussions on issues related to the fairer gender cannot remain confined to one designated day, rather attempts have to be made every single day to ensure a safe and secured world to our women.

As a kid growing up in Silchar, leading up to my days in the college and then university, I never ever felt that the women in our valley were unsafe or insecure. In an extremely patriarchal social set up like ours, the women were never the main decision makers in the households, but despite the unequal social status, crimes such as rapes, molestations or even dowry deaths were completely unheard of.   

We have all seen groups of young girls going back to their houses after tuition classes in the late evening hours through the dark alleys of Silchar or the other towns of the valley. But, the girls or their parents have probably never felt unsafe due to the darkness on the streets, which are perpetually in the grip of frequent power cuts.  

We actually believed that these evils took place only in the bigger cities especially in the northern part of the country. When a gang rape case was reported from Silchar in December, 2010, we at Concern For Silchar wrote about it and registered our protest probably, still believing that it was a one off incident and not an indication of the more difficult days to come. We were so wrong…

We had uploaded this photo while writing about a rape case incident in Silchar in December, 2010. This painting is an apt representation of the condition of our society.
In the last one year, a number of cases of heinous crimes against women including rape and murder have been registered in various parts of Barak Valley, indicating towards a behavioral and attitudinal change among the men, which is extremely unfortunate. Showing respect towards women and ensuring their safety was always a part of our culture and tradition. While there might have been incidents of eve teasing, cases such as rape were extremely rare.

The recent case of the murder of an elderly woman in Palonghat while saving her daughter from abductors seems straight out of a Bollywood movie. We all should hang our heads in shame for allowing such an incident to take place in our land.  

In such a situation, occasions such as Women’s Day cannot be considered mere tokenism. Rather we should use such days to spread awareness about the importance of safety among women. Especially the youth has to be sensitized about this very crucial issue. The educational institutions also have to play a very crucial role in this regard. The teachers have to talk to the students and make them realize their responsibilities towards the society.   

We keep writing about innumerable issues confronting Barak Valley on this forum. However, even talking about other issues such as backwardness and corruption become irrelevant, if we cannot even ensure the safety of half our population. We are not as developed as the rest of the country in terms of industrialization or employment generation, but when it comes to social indicators such as safety of women, caste discrimination etc, we are far ahead of the so called developed communities. So, let us not lose our strengths and work together to improve the state of affairs.   

Some recent incidents of crime against women in Barak Valley:

11th August, 2012:  Student from Guwahati was allegedly gang-raped in Silchar. The first year degree student of Silchar Women's College was going for private tuitions from her hostel when she was forcibly picked up by four persons in a car and then raped near Kumbhirgram.

10th September, 2012: An elderly woman was found murdered inside her flat at the 4th floor of an apartment in the Hailakandi Road locality of Silchar. Ms. Kanchan Chajer (Jain), 69, was found dead at 9 pm and her valuables looted. She was the owner of the popular sweet shop, Tulsi Sweets.

1st January, 2013:  Five abductors hacked the mother of an 18-year-old schoolgirl at Palonghat when the woman was trying to rescue her daughter from the clutches of the miscreants.

* Some more such cases have also been reported. We have not included them due to the unavailability of exact details.

3 comments:

  1. This looks like a news article..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Its safe to say that you are so very right. There used to be a time when we say the crimes, gangrape..all these happens in the big cities. And its kind of foreign to us people here in silchar. But since the world is changing along with time, many unwanted crime is about to happen. I appretiate your work. Proud of you!

    ReplyDelete

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