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HER EXISTENTIAL ANGST

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crime against women in india -Her existential angst

 “ We have been bearing the torture of losing our daughter. Despite all our efforts, repeated assurances and Court orders, we have not got any justice.”

Just another voice among those thousands of voices demanding justice for their daughters who had been raped. And just like that this voice would also fade away in times to come, while some voices would not even get the chance to surface. Yet, a question like ‘Was she being careful enough?’ is thrown at her, holding her accountable as if she brought this upon herself. Society would then have the audacity to not spare her with their further shallow remarks on what sort of clothes she was wearing, or at what time of the day was she out, or was she of ‘easy virtue’, or her age being the factor since her ‘youngness’ might have been all over the place or was she venturing out with her relatives as it’s safer like that.

These assumed ‘causes’ or rather myths set at the hands of society need a stern blow. Each time her dress is shredded into fragments and used as a weapon against her is normalising the gruesome sexual assault. How is it that restoration of modesty in Her dress code would guarantee its inverse proportionality to your perverse mindset?

She is vulnerable outside at every moment, 24×7, so the time of the day at which she is out does not make any difference. Rape is reported every 15 minutes according to the crime data released by the NCRB from 2018. A total of 32,033 cases of rapes were lodged in 2019. India recorded an average of 87 rape cases daily in 2019 and overall 4,05,861 cases of crime against women, a rise of over 7 % from 2018. This distinctly indicates that she is susceptible to rape every second of every minute of her entire life.

Categorizing her as one with ‘easy virtue’ is done by the society at the drop of a hat. Fine, she will face the consequences of partying late in clubs, drinking, having relationships but dare not use this as a vindication of rape. Barring her from following the lifestyle that she wants for herself since it’s her life, alone would not curb crimes against her. So stop moral policing the victim.

Moreover, her age and ‘youngness’ does not constitute her of getting raped as its not just young women who become victims of such heinous crime. NCRB data shows, in 2015, 10,854 cases of rape under Section 376 of the IPC & Section 4 and 6 of Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act were registered. In light of this data, I ask of you, what sort of ‘youngness ‘ did a newborn child of merely two months have offered or a grandmother as elderly as 86 years old?

She is aware of the fear of the unknown, but what about the fear of the known? As stated by NRCB in 2017, the accused were known to the victims in 93.1% cases, as many as 16,591 rape cases were against the family – friends, a certain cousin, uncles, employers, neighbours, friends, online friends, live-in partners, separated husbands of the victims or for the matter of fact their very own fathers, brothers and grandfathers. She suffers torment as a consequence of trust that she had in them – an acquaintance rape.

As if all of this wasn’t enough already, some very well ‘ educated ‘ men like Markandey Katju, although reiterating that he “ condemns the Hathras Gangrape” and calls for “ harshest punishment of the culprits”, however in all his capacity still stoops down to justify rape. In his long post, he chose to put all the blame on women and how they are bound to bear the brunt of crimes against them since “ sex is a natural urge in men”, he further adds that because India is a heavily populated & a conservative society so having sex is acceptable “ only through marriage” and as it is our country is facing massive unemployment due to economic crisis, therefore, men are deprived of sex, the result of which is an increase in rapes.

 Now I Am unable to comprehend the logic that Mr Katju intends to state. Do women not experience any sexual urges or people like him and society at large consider that aspect ‘ unnatural ‘ for us? Or do men alone have claimed the patent for the same ? And as far as unemployment and economic crisis are concerned, why are women made to be the punching bags for the lack of governance? What exactly wrong did Manisha Valmiki and another Dalit girl in Balrampur do to deserve such sinister men? Manisha, a Dalit girl was raped by four Thakur men in Hathras. Her neck and spinal cord were damaged and her tongue was sliced. Even several days after this beyond the dreadful incident, BJP MLA Rajvir Diler says “ no rape occurred”, the hospital kept her in the general ward for six days while she was groaning and suffering in immense pain, the police cremated rather burnt her body without her family’s consent. Just days after she passed away fighting for her life, yet another Dalit girl in Balrampur was raped by two men. Both her back and legs were broken, lethal injection was given to shut her mouth and post all this horror she was murdered.

Both these cases are about Caste as much as it is about Gender. It is not debatable, even then MLA Rajvir Diler says “ There is no caste system in the village, everything is fine” ( SAB CHANGA SI – familiar enough ?). He is the same MP who accepted casteism and sat on the floor during his MLA days stating “ I Am the son of a Valmiki. I cannot break away from tradition. Let the world change, I won’t.”

The sheer privilege you must have to tell me not to make this about caste when discrimination predominantly based on gender and caste is practised daily in this country. Everything comes down to the “social conditioning” that one is brought up with. The problem mainly lies when we consider mere literacy as the sole criteria for educating Men. By doing this we only make them irresponsible in numerous ways. Rather have your boys learn about patriarchy, its toxicities, the boundaries that they are to remain in,* gender equality and respect, than plainly focusing on them being employed to support their families. And by the way, don’t “not all men” me for this because there are an inordinate amount of men who do inhumane and degrading things to women and would still have the guts to blatantly tell us that women somehow have it easy.

The aforementioned brutal rape of Dalit girls is a reflection of how mean and cruel we as a society have become. In fact, several days prior to when this atrocious crime took place, one of the powerful Bollywood actress who is celebrated across the nation for her outstanding performances, Kangana Ranaut posts an apathetic tweet, “ Caste system has been rejected by modern Indians, in small towns everyone knows it’s not acceptable anymore by law and order its nothing more than a sadistic pleasure for few, only our constitution is holding onto it in terms of Reservations.”

If you fail to see the caste angle in such crimes, you are being willfully ignorant. The only time we think caste is dead when it doesn’t affect us directly in any way. Therefore imparting “moral education” in all social aspects is our responsibility as a society because caging women in a set of constraints would not awaken the sense of morality in Your men and not acknowledging the caste system would not stop hate crimes against them. So, it’s about time for “moral reckoning.”

  1. Now the question arises; what is our government doing about it?
  2. It can build sky-high temples for all it cares.
  3. Exonerate the 32 accused in Babri Masjid’s demolition.
  4. Form an SIT amid nationwide outrage.
  5. Unleash police impunity by detaining at least 100 protestors from India Gate who were protesting against Hathras Gangrape.
  6. Can’t call out UP Police who burnt victim’s body in the middle of the night while having her family locked inside their houses, she wasn’t even given dignity in death.
  7. Rashtriya Savarna Parishad comes out in support of the Thakur rapists

BJP MLA Surendra Singh shares his bigoted ‘theory’ stating that girls need to be taught ‘sanskaar’(culture and values) as then only rape could be prevented since ‘shasan’ (governance ) and ‘talwar’ (sword) can’t stop anything.

Nonetheless, we see hoardings of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” everywhere. It never served the purpose, Dr. Priyanka Reddy, a 26- year old veterinary doctor from Shamshabad in Hyderabad was gang-raped and found dead with her body partially burnt under Chatanpally bridge. She was well educated, independent, and empowered woman, yet she could not be saved from getting raped. The police resorted to impulsive justice and unlawfully killed the culprits. Did this impulsive treatment of justice deter the four Thakur rapists from committing the same crime? This is not justice, it’s a ploy to shut down our demands for accountability from the police, judiciary and the government. Is the death penalty by hanging the solution to India’s rape crisis? Where it takes years and years of courtroom sessions as we all saw in the Nirbhaya Rape case. All of this is just a band-aid on a deep wound.

We need actual Judiciary reforms starting with having a better representation of women in higher Indian Judiciary. Till date we have no woman Chief Justice despite three women judges currently sitting in the Supreme Court, there seems to be no possibility as of now that we will have the first woman Chief Justice in the near future. There are already five male judges lined up to succeed in the present CJI until 2025.

In spite of their proficiency, hard work and struggle women lawyers are not recognised except for very few second-generation lawyers. According to the Supreme Court’s list of senior advocates, only 4% are women i.e 16 against 400 men. Even though Maharashtra has the highest no. of women lawyers, yet accounts for only 3.8% of senior women advocates in Bombay High Court.

 Many pragmatic studies show that having even one woman on a 3- judge panel affects the entire panel’s decision-making in gender discrimination cases. When I previously mentioned Markandey Katju as a ‘ very well educated man’ by that I meant a man of high calibre, who was a former Supreme Court Judge, nevertheless made a long cold remark lacking in depth of intellect. No wonder justice is delayed or almost denied to the rape victims.

The entire structure of dispensation of justice needs revamping, otherwise, the victim shall no longer be the woman alone, but humanity at large. While you all tell us to wait as bringing in reforms in Judiciary, in men, in the social structure as a whole is a perennial endeavour and will take time, just assure us with your answer; how much more and for how long do we women Endure?

Image Credit: Pexels@Loanne Adela Low

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Himachal Watcher or its members.

Tarushi is currently pursuing B.A. honours in English and is also a journalism student. Apart from studies, she spends remaining time on reading and writing and to teach unprivileged children under Samarth Organization as part of social service.

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No Dialysis at Tanda Medical College; No Nephrologist, Machine Dysfunctional, Patients from Five Districts Left in Lurch

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Tanda Medical college dialysis facility

Kangra: Amid regular press statements of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur led Himachal Pradesh Government over its consistent efforts to improve the state’s health infrastructure, media reports have been highlighting facts contrary to these statements.

According to a report published in Hindi daily, Covid-19 patients with kidney-related medical conditions from Hamirpur, Mandi, Una, Kangra and Chamba are left in the lurch. The report said that these patients have no nearby options as none of the hospitals in the above mentioned five districts have dialysis facility for Covid patients. These patients are either referred to IGMC, Shimla, or PGI, Chandigarh. Also, the report says, the multi-specialty Hospital Tanda Medical College does not offer dialysis to kidney patients. Dharamshala hospital is unable to offer dialysis to Covid positive kidney patients as it lacks ventilator support.

The report cited a reference of a local who alleged that his mother, who was on dialysis, was admitted to a hospital in Nurpur. She was referred to Tanda Medical College where she tested positive. He said the hospital told him that they don’t offer dialysis facility. He was told that dialysis is performed at Dharamshala. But the hospital in Dharamshala lacked ventilator support for covid patients. The mother died while the son tried to arrange dialysis outside the state. The son said his mother would have survived if she could receive timely dialysis.

Dr. Bhanu Awasthi, the principal of the College, told the daily that Tanda Medical College does not have a Nephrologist and the available dialysis machine is not functional. The hospital has been requesting the government to fill the vacant post, he said. G.D Gupta, CMO Kangra, confirmed that patients in the district have died as they could not receive dialysis treatment because the hospitals in the district don’t have dialysis facilities for COVID patients.

Another report published in an English daily highlight the plight of cancer patients who are deprived of their chemotherapy session, posing threat to their lives.

The report says that various hospitals in the state were converted into Covid-19 treatment centres, and patients suffering from other severe illnesses were not receiving treatment in the districts of the lower Himachal Pradesh. Cancer patients in Kangra have alleged that they are not receiving treatment at Tanda Medical College which they fear could be life-threatening.
The report said Tanda Medical College is the only hospital with a facility for cancer treatment in the lower Himachal which was converted into a Covid hospital. The super-speciality wing of the hospital which caters to cancer, cardio and neuro patients has remained closed since last month. This is causing a delay in the completion of chemotherapy sessions.

Dr Bhanu Awasthi told  the daily that the treatment was suspended temporarily due to a surge in Covid cases. He said that patients who require immediate chemotherapy can go to Indira Gandhi Medical College. He said the cases in Kangra district were coming down and if the situation improves, they will be able to open the super specialty wing soon.

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World’s Highest Motorable Village Achieves 100% Covid Vaccination

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Image Ccredit: Hindustan Times

Lahaul-Spiti: Komic village, known to be the world’s highest motorable village, in Lahaul-Spiti has vaccinated all of its eligible population.  The village is located at an elevation of 15,000 feet and has a population of 130 people as per 2011 census data.

According to officials, all people in the 18-44 age groups have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. People falling under 60+ and 45+ categories were vaccinated with both the doses of Covishield. Only children below the age of 18 were not vaccinated. 

“100 per cent vaccination has been achieved in Komic village with people over 45 years age group vaccinated with both doses,” SDM Gian Sagar Negi told news agency ANI.

Further, all people above 45 years in age have been administered the first dose of the Covid vaccine in Kaza, the headquarter of Spiti Valley. All people above 65-years  have received  both doses. 

“Due to the problems related to internet connectivity in the valley, the state government had allowed offline registration for vaccination. Now, 80% of the registration for vaccination is being carried out offline. Vaccination slots are being booked with help of a lottery,” Gian Sagar Negi added.

Despite tough terrain and weather conditions of  the valley, the health authorities have taken a lead in vaccination.

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Patients Suffer as IGMC – Shimla City’s Only Hospital With Ventilator Beds-Runs Out of Capacity

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IGMC Shimla Ventilator beds
Image Credit: The Statesman

Shimla-  The  Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla, has maxed out of beds with ventilator support, a report published in a Hindi daily said.  The IGMC is the only hospital in the city with a facility of ventilator beds. The hospital has a total of 37 ventilator beds, all of which were occupied. Patients from other COVID-19 hospitals are referred to the IGMC only after the hospital confirms the availability of ventilator beds. The report said that this shortage of ventilator beds is giving a hard time to critically ill Covid-19 patients. Pertinent to mention that critical patients from across the state are referred to the IGMC. 

Earlier, a report had said that the two major Covid hospitals of Shimla – IGMC and DDU-were packed to their full capacity and patients were denied admissions. This raises questions over the state government’s claims that it’s prepared to tackle the third wave of the pandemic. 

Since the past two days, families of Covid-19 patients had been struggling to find ventilator beds in Shimla, the report said. Hospitals like Deendyal Upadhyay have been asked not to refer any serious Covid patient to the IGMC as all the ventilator beds were already occupied. Usually, when a critical Covid-19 patient needs ventilator support, the hospital where the patient is admitted makes a call to IGMC to inquire for beds and to refer the patient.

“Ventilator beds can only be made available when the patient on ventilator support gets discharged, or when the patient succumbs to the infection. Because such patients cannot be shifted or removed from ventilator support,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, Officer-in-charge Central Store, IGMC, told the daily.

The State Government had notified the Indra Gandhi Medical College, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Ayurvedic Hospital Chhota Shimla, and Walker Hospital as Covid-19 hospitals. But, out of these, only IGMC has the facility of ventilator beds. The DDU has ventilators but they are not operational since the hospital has only one anaesthetist. All the other three hospitals don’t have enough staff to to operate ventilators, the report said. Severe cases from these hospitals are referred to the IGMC only. 

Efforts to increase the ventilator bed capacity in IGMC were being made, Dr. Rahul Gupta told the daily. 

 

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