Recent mob attacks on young women show that not everything is well in India. Attacks on women in different parts of the country such as in Guwahati, Assam, Delhi, Calcutta and elsewhere indicate the rise of a have and have not mentality. One India is represented by an educated and privileged class which is a direct beneficiary of the progress the country is making on economic fronts, and the other India consists of uneducated, jobless, internal urban migrants. The mob mentality behaves as prosecutor, judge and executioner, all in one. They see a lone young woman on the street and decide to harass her.
The fact that such things take place shows that there is a weak and reluctant mode of governance. Those who participate in such mobs are well aware that they are unlikely to be caught in the first place and that if by chance they are arrested, they may face a maximum of one year’s imprisonment at most, which is nothing more than free bed and bread at the expense of the state.
This mob mentality is often fueled by the fantasy world of Bollywood and by the fact that the subcontinent is still a male-dominated society which is not ready to accept educated and economically independent women. It is high time for the central and state governments of India to take some real, and not cosmetic, steps to protect women from such treatment on the street. It will not be easy as it must involve police reform, improved prosecution methods, speedy justice, court witness reform, and an education system which stresses the importance of women’s rights. Bringing about such change is not a simple matter, but where there is a will, there is a way.
Masood Khan, Jubail