India Uncut

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

How safe is this country?

This is just horrifying. Mid Day reports:
A 24-year-old woman was raped in the Mumbai-Lucknow Pushpak Express last night. Ten armed thugs barged into the compartment when the train halted at Bhopal.

Forty-five minutes after it left the station, they threw three passengers out of the running train [and] robbed the rest. Two of them then raped the woman in the toilet.
The box at the bottom of the report tells us that a similar incident happened a couple of weeks ago on a train between Mumbai and Nashik, in which "[a] gang of robbers held the woman’s husband at knife-point while they raped her."

We've always known that certain parts of the country -- Bihar and UP certainly -- are more lawless than others, and that train travel is unsafe through those areas. But there is a huge difference between your reservations counting for nothing as thugs take your seat and crimes of this sort. It isn't just trains: there has to be some pressure on the system to make law enforcement much stronger in these areas. But people have to be accountable for that to happen, and any accountability is notional at present. The police, the bureacracy and politicians all look after their own interests, which, perversely for a democracy, are not aligned to those of the people. Change can only come via elections, if the people make law and order a polling issue and a committed party campaigns on that plank.

But at the moment, there's just apathy.
amit varma, 12:57 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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