At least three CfP members joined one of several meetings across the
country to express outrage over the Delhi gangrape; this one was at
Shivaji Park on Saturday December 29th. It attracted perhaps 250 people
and was entirely silent. Many who gathered wore black armbands. Others
held placards: "Don't Rape", "Disqualify Rapist MLAs/MPs" and more.
They formed a line that stretched most of the way across two sides of the
park; later, they walked silently to nearby Chaityabhoomi where they sang
a song, observed a minute of silence, and then dispersed.
There is plenty of anger and outrage, of course. This was a horrific atrocity
and CfP demands that its perpetrators are severely and swiftly punished.
Still, it is a reminder of two things.
One, law and order remains something the ordinary Indian feels increasingly
unable to count on. The bus drove through several police obstacles
("nakabandi") that night. Why was it not stopped and checked? And after
public anger began erupting, why did the police react so hamhandedly and
brutally, by attacking those who were protesting this ghastly crime?
More sensitive and more responsive policing is not just something this
incident demonstrates the need for; it must be seen as the legitimate
right of every citizen. This is an essential foundation of a just and
Two, molestation and more remain everyday realities for most
Indian women. In understanding that, we at CfP suggest that no better
policing or severe punishments or fast-track courts will change those
realities. What will change them is a rethinking of a whole spectrum of
attitudes towards women: from their place in our homes to their freedom
to love and marry to the clothes they wear.
This is no easy task, but this gangrape show how urgent it is to begin
the process of introspection and rethinking.