Last week, something happened in Bangalore that happens perhaps every other night. A lady driver travelling home from work in her car. Why, you ask, is that reason enough for a blog post? Read on, is what I say to that. It so happened that a man rammed into her car from behind while she was waiting at a red light. There’s still nothing entirely disturbing about this. What happened next is the man started accusing her. He blamed her for the accident. He got abusive. And that’s where this tale of corruption – moral and physical – begins.
One would imagine that a traffic cop present around the scene would have been reason enough to put the erring man in place, comfort the woman and handle the entire situation. But if you’ve lived in India long enough – and I have – you’d know that something of the sort barely happens. I’d go so far as to say that it never happens, but there’s always that one honest cop who will skew the figures.
The woman asked the cop to help her and register a formal complaint against the biker. Of course, this meant that the cop could no longer just pocket a 100-rupee note from the rider and move on with life. (That is what most traffic cops, at least in Bangalore are wont to do.) Was I present at the scene to report so accurately? No. Am I sure that I am indeed reporting accurately? Yes. Because I happen to know the woman personally. She’s a woman who I have had to occasion to work with many times. A woman of strong opinions – as all people should be. A straightforward woman.
And I assume that it is this straightforwardness that became the cause of agony for her. Though, of course, that is a biased man’s point of view. A point of view that instantly begins to at least subside the responsibility of the other men present at the scene. So, I’ll take that back. What caused her agony was a bunch of insecure, stupid men. Men who gathered around her in a circle and heckled her, grabbed at her and abused her verbally. One of them flashed himself.
Oh, and the cop was a man as well. And not very different from the others. He shrugged her, pushed her around, and even punched and slapped her. All this while she was asking him for help. And what did the cop do to the rider? Ignored him and let him sneak away in the commotion. While the other men continued their antics.
The next day, a high official went on air telling the world that the cop was not at fault. And that the onus is on the woman to prove the cop guilty. A classic case of blaming the victim again. A classic case of officials trying to cover up after their erring subordinates. A classic case of a mob victimising the woman and calling it her fault.
There is a petition doing the rounds that I have signed and sent to every person I know. I thought this might be a good place to share it with the others. People who may not even be in my country but feel the need for a protest, a change. People who are better than the cop and the mob. Please sign this petition and pass it around for all to sign. I will be eternally grateful to you.
No peace in this one.
- Bangalore: Attack on Manipur woman highlights police insensitivity (ibnlive.in.com)
- Netizens rally around assaulted theatreperson, seek action (thehindu.com)
- B’lore: The cop called me a nuisance, says Manipur girl (ibnlive.in.com)