The recent statement of Virender Kumar, Vice Principal of the Kirori Mal College, New Delhi that salwar kameez should be a "dress code" for the northeast girls in Delhi to avoid sexual harassment is ridiculous and racial discriminatory. It is rubbing salt into the wound.
The gang rape of a northeast girl by 4 car borne miscreants last month in Delhi had sent shock waves through the whole northeast people in capital and back home. There were wide spread protests in the capital and even the Parliament was rocked not because she belongs to the northeast but the nature of the crime committed and the very behavioral attitude shown by the capital cops.
Had the cops taken prompt action as soon as the 2 friends of the victim informed them, she could have been rescued before the miscreants made any further advance to rape her.
The northeasterners are waiting for the dust to settle and they are yet to recover from the shocks of the highly sensationalized gang rape. But Kumar’s thoughtless statement to have a separate dress code for the northeast girls living in the national capital to avoid "sexual harassment" will have far reaching ramifications towards building up a common national character.
What about those thousands of mainlanders who are staying in the northeast region? Should the mainland girls staying in the northeast region wear local dresses to avoid sexual harassment? This will in no way prevent criminals from harming them.
Where is the guarantee that they are saved even if they use local dresses? Criminals are criminals and we are not arguing that rapes are not taking place on other communities or other places in the country including northeast.
The miscreants after gang rapping the girl had even come back and dumped her to the place from where she was initially abducted after about 2 hours. This had clearly shown the complete insensitiveness of the Delhi cops to the gravity of the crime. And this very attitude of the cops had inflamed the northeasterners and the northeast MPs had to rock the Parliament to question the motives of the cops’ attitudes that made a mockery of the laws of the land.
Violence against women is prevalent everywhere in this country. There are law enforcement agencies to prevent such crimes but they alone will not be able to solve this scourge. The people’s cooperation is crucial in eradicating this menace.
We have seen how the Naga people have quickly reacted when a Keralite lady teacher was brutally raped and murdered. It was the youth of the Mezoma village of Nagaland who had caught the rapist and handed over to the Police.
The Naga people, in a huge public rally organized in protest against the rape and murder, had expressed their solidarity with the Malayalee community living in Nagaland. Powerful Naga Students Federation, Naga Mothers Association, Angami Women Organization are among others which had come out strongly against the heinous crime committed to the Keralite lady teacher.
We believe that unless people come forward in rooting out such social evils, only law enforcing agencies will not do. And when the people are active in their drive against the crimes, the Police cannot remain a mute spectator though they are supposed to be the protectors of the citizens. They will be forced to dispense their bounden duties.
In Manipur, rapes happened but it has reduced drastically over the years because underground people used to award harsh punishment to the rapists. The local populace has taken stern actions against those involved in raping.
The nation had witnessed how the Manipur people put up unprecedented violent protests when the Assam Rifles jawans raped and murdered a Manipuri lady, Th Manorama.
The people, wherever they are, should change their mindset. If any crime is perpetrated to the people of the northeast in other parts of the country, the support of the local populace is essential. They (northeast people) should not be taken as outsiders.
The people irrespective of their caste, creed, and religion should collectively fight against the ineffectiveness of the law enforcement agencies. And for the failure of the law enforcement agencies, the northeastern girls should not be made a scapegoat and imposed to wear "slawar kameez" as a dress code to avoid "sexual harassment."
This kind of social segregation on racial lines will rather bring serious implication towards building up national character and undermine the very beauty of this country---"Unity in Diversity."
Such imposition is also against the very basic secular credentials of our democratic set up.
Besides this will alienate the northeast people further from the mainstream.
Oken Jeet Sandham, founder and editor for NEPS contributes regularly to e-pao.net
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was webcasted on June 13th , 2005.