January 3, 2013

Radical Socialist organisation (India) on anti-rape upsurge: Solidarity with the protesters in Delhi!

By the Radical Socialist organisation

December 26, 2012 -- Radical Socialist -- There have been sustained protests in Delhi against the rape of a young woman of 23 in a bus, and the callous attitude of police, administration and politicians until the protesters forced their hands. This has been taken up across India. Protests have been heard in Kolkata, in Srinagar and in many other places. This issue must be put in its proper perspective in order to understand why there has been such a massive outpouring.
It is not because this is just an incidence of unusual violence that people are angry. And it is not that this is a middle-class issue, and that is why the middle class is angry. The former detaches the particular issue from the general, while the latter is a very one-sided presentation.

In 2010, there were 22,000 recorded cases of rape in India, which means the actual number or rapes was around 130,000 (given the ratio of five unreported rapes to every reported case that is widely admitted, while one study of the Punjab for 1995 suggested it was as high as 68:1). In Delhi, the national capital, there have been more than 560 cases of recorded rapes in 2012 so far. In West Bengal, there are several thousand rape cases that have been recorded by the police yet have not started moving in the courts. 

In Manipur, Irom Sharmila continues her lonely protest by hunger strike, while the Armed Forces Special Powers Act continues to shield men in uniform who routinely rape and murder women. In Kashmir, the Shopian Rape and murder was hushed up by calling it suicide due to family conflicts. In Gujarat in 2002, political violence against Muslims included gang rapes in a large number of cases, lauded by the chief minister as “Newton’s Third Law”. 

Rape, in other words, is a threat that stalks virtually every Indian woman. The massive and semi-spontaneous outpouring, organised by little more than personal contacts and grassroots-level initiative, was born out of popular hatred of this growing trend, and an utter rejection of politicians and police who are seen as vile, corrupt, promoters and protectors of rapists, who have pussyfooted when Khap panchayats have sought to dictate terms against women, and who have routinely put up history sheeters as their candidates, including men charged with rape (cases still going on) or with other sexual assault on women.

Because people routinely take part in elections, these parties go on repeating that Indian democracy is strong and deeply rooted. In fact it is shallow, and has come to mean little more than periodic contests between different gangs of crooks for all of whom people’s social, economic and cultural rights and desires matter not a whit.

Rape is treated, by the capitalist-patriarchal system and its upholders, in a totally flawed manner. It is equated with sex, and therefore rapists are identified as individual perverts. Often enough, the women themselves are blamed. In the present case too, before the depth of mass outrage was seen, one politician had remarked that the woman was too adventurous in being out so late. In other cases, women are virtually told they were inviting rape if they did not fit into a narrow dress code, if they were seen in various kinds of places socially identified as spaces for “bad women”, and so on. It is enough to remember the case of Bhanwari Devi, to understand that the reality is, women are raped because rape is a show of power. It is a display of violence on women by patriarchy.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

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