Let Us Build Lok Raj!
Statement of the Maharashtra Regional Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan
Citizen Brothers and Sisters,
The recent rape of one of our sisters, a photo journalist, in the Shakti Mill compound in Mumbai has justifiably angered all of us and we are rightly demanding a speedy trial and the severest of punishments to the criminals. The thousands of us who have come out on the streets in protest as well as the people at large laud the courage of this young lady in not being cowed down and suffering in silence.
It is no secret that from Kashmir to Kanyakumari women in our country are not safe from sexual attacks and violence. What we have to do is to expose the root of the problem and the way forward to its solution.
We should never forget that the main perpetrators of crimes against women are those who wield power in our society:
- The main leaders of the two biggest political parties, the Congress and BJP, are themselves guilty of committing the most bestial crimes against women. It was the netas of these parties who led gangs of murderers and rapists against the Sikhs in 1984 in Delhi and against Muslims in 1992-93 in Mumbai, Surat and other cities as well as in Gujarat in 2002. It is well known that after being raped, pregnant women had their abdomens cut open to destroy the fetuses they were bearing! Without the connivance and support of the ministers, bureaucracy, courts and security forces such genocides, rapes and atrocities could never have taken place.
- Many of the big “netas” especially of the Congress and BJP have charge sheets of rape and abduction of women against them.
- When women are raped by the armed forces in Kashmir, in the north-east and in the so-called terrorist infested areas in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and other states, not only are the armed criminals left scot-free, but even cases are not registered against them.
- Not long ago, it came out that women inmates were being sexually harassed every night in a government run shelter home in Mankhurd (Mumbai) with the full connivance of the authorities for a very long period till a brave new inmate escaped the shelter home and reported the facts to local newspapers. This case is no exception. There are a large number of such examples all over the country in which women are subjected to abuse in government run outfits that are supposed to give them shelter.
- Many women are regularly abused and even raped by police officials, bureaucrats, sarpanches, MLAs, MPs and Ministers. No action is taken agaisnt the criminals.
Thus crimes against women start at the very top.
Should we demand more power in the hands of the police or more stringent laws? Consider another question: are the police allowed to use the power they have today to protect women? How many women (or for that matter, men) feel safe in a police station?
- Women who are abused generally do not go to the police station. At best their FIR will not be registered. Worse, they are often subjected to further abuse and indignities. It is well known that the biggest criminals have no fear of the police; it is the law-abiding citizens who do.
- When lakhs of people – women and men – were on the streets of Delhi demanding justice in the notorious December 16 case, the police were ordred to attack them.
- Laws that are there in favour of the people are not implemented by the very same state machinery that is supposed to implement them. This is true not just as far as laws concerning the safety of women go. Despite laws to so call protect the rights of working people, even the most fundamental rights of the working people like the Right to unionize, the Right to protest, the Right to provident fund, ESIS etc. are openly flouted by the rich class of our society, but they are never punished for their crimes.
- Our experience of stringent laws is that they are never used to punish the real criminals. On the contrary they are used against workers, peasants, adivasis, etc. who are fighting for their rights or demanding justice. They are also used to harass totally innocent ordinary people.
It is clear that the present political system concentrates power in the hands of those who are totally unaccountable to the people.
What is needed is the renewal of the system, the empowerment of the people. Unless the law making and law executing machinery – our political representatives, and the entire state machinery including the Judiciary and Police – are under control of people, and are accountable only to the people at large, no laws can guarantee our safety and security.
Leaders of parties like the Congress and BJP blame women themselves for their abuse. They also blame men in general for their “bad” outlook towards women. There is no doubt that backward ideas do prevail in society today. Why is this so? The powers-that-be deliberately promote backwardness because it suits them. They refuse to admit that it is the kind of system we have in our country which systematically promotes the “commodification” of women’s bodies. The media that are mainly controlled by big industrial houses do this to reap profit and systematically promote backward attitudes towards women.
It thus is quite clear that while continuing to fight for justice for all women and for the strictest punishment to those who abuse women, we also need to
- Spread awareness about the above issues
- Build our own self-defense committees in areas where we live and work
- Demand accountability of local police stations and judiciary to such self-defense committees
Above all we need to fight for establishing a system in our country wherein “We the people of India” become its real masters i.e. for the Empowerment of People or for Lok Raj:
In this system
- We the people of India would have the right to make policies and laws and scrap all the anti-people policies and laws existing
- Elected representatives, officials, the judiciary, the police and the armed forces will be directly accountable to the people of our country
Only by building such an India can we be sure of Safety, Security and Well-being of our people!
Contact: 9730219308, 9821410105 www.lokraj.org.in