Eve Teasing: Challenging social evil & depiction of moral corruption in Kashmir

12/01/2011

Eve Teasing: Challenging social evil & depiction of moral corruption in Kashmir
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In the recent past, we have witnessed a lot of thought provoking events & developments in Kashmir. We got to know about the atrocities like fake encounters, extra-judicial killings at the hands of some cruel Indian security forces.

We learnt about the web of corruption & the sale of ministerial seats in the pro-Indian political parties. We read about inadequate traffic police & defective roads leading to increasing number of road accidents which consequently lead to rapid rate of untimely deaths.

We heard of the covert plan of the state government to settle non-state subjects here. We also believe that faith was sold at Rs. 5000 to Christian Missionaries. Last, but not the least, we saw unknown, unmarked mass graves particularly in the border areas of Kashmir.

Having witnessed all this, we still managed to live a relatively peaceful summer. I don't know why. May be because our conscience is dead. May be we consider it normal now. May be it is something we would have to face untill Kashmir remains to be a dispute.

In, almost, all these cases, we have to fight for justice against some external force. But if there's a social evil equal in gravity and responsible for forcing the lives of our sisters to a miserable state, shouldn't we, atleast, fight it out. And, especially if it is something that we can eradicate without fighting against an external force but against our own self.

I am talking about 'Eve Teasing' - public sexual harassment / molestation of women through sexually suggestive remarks. The evil act is termed as Eve Teasing, albeit many feminist writers term it as "Little Rapes".

Who Is Responsible?
Eve teasing is mostly witnessed at Public places, Public transport, Streets, Coacing Centres et cetera. Pertinently, Coaching Centres in Kashmir often feature in newspapers for wrong reasons such as the growing menace of eve teasing. If we ponder over it, we will find that there isn't a single cause but a host of them.

The culprits are mostly from economically poor & socially backward families. For them, practices like playing loud music, capturing pictures on mobile phones while following a girl, indulging in 'Gang Wars', showing-off flashy accessories are their 'Charm'.

Parents also turn into an accomplice through carelessness. Escorting their daughter to places like Coaching Centres is seen as the last option.

Bollywood has always been at the fore-front in promoting 'Roadside Romeos'. By chance, if it is a 'Villain' acting such a practise, a 'Hero' immediately appears, beats the villain to save the victim which is quite contrary to the reality.

Indian soaps have also used this social evil as a bait to attract more & more audience & viewership. The best example being "Pratigya" - serial featuring on Star Plus.

Being the highest militarised zone with 'lawless' laws, 'security forces' also indulge in such acts in Kashmir. These molestations often go unreported for fear of reprisal & exposure to public shame.

Writing On The Wall:
Although, Indian Penal Code 298 (A) & (B) prescribes 3 months prison and if repeated, 5 years prison with a fine of Rs. 5000 while refering to the social crime as equable to obscene gestures, remarks or even songs, we still need to do a lot more.

If the law would have been enough, then Delhi - capital of India, wouldn't have been refered to as 'one of the world's dangerous places for women'.

The fact that eve-teasing is one of the main causes for increasing rate of female suicides in contemporary societies, we need to act fast rather than playing "wait & see".

A few of my suggestions would be to:

  • Empower the organisations like National Commission for Women (NCW) so that justice would be delivered to the victims at the earliest.
  • Police officers, especially females, should be stationed in plain clothes at places often in complaint.
  • Special Anti-eve-teasing Cells should be established to confront the menace in an effective manner.
  • The employers in the valley should allow female employees to leave at 4 pm or arrange adequate transport facility for them so that they can reach home before its too dark especially in Winters.

Parents should shun the indifferent behaviour towards their wards. They should, rather, keep a vigil on their activites.

Ulema also have a role to play in curbing this social crime. Besides, delivering sermons & speeches, they should encourage people for setting up of 'Mohalla Committee' in each and every locality for the very act of arresting & bringing the culprits to book. That will surely help in bringing an end to this ever growing social evil.

All these measures would be helpful only if we change our attitude towards this social evil and recognise this fact that our own daughters or sisters can be safe if we prevent the matter from getting bad to worse. Perhaps, education and educational institutions can play a better role in this regard.

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