When life is a stunt
Sir — Celebrities have been known to do the most bizarre things, sometimes just for fun, at other times for publicity. One does not know if Michael Jackson’s brandishing of his nine-month old son from the balcony of a Berlin hotel falls into either category. But “Jackson admits baby stunt was a mistake” (Nov 20) does not absolve the singer of his irresponsible attitude towards children, this time his own. Shortly before Jackson’s first child was born, he had been accused of child molestation. The charge was later withdrawn. Then, as now, his image as a slightly mad pop superstar must have helped.
Sneha Adhikari, Raipur
Sir — The gangrape of a student of Maulana Azad Medical College shocked (“Medico rape blot on capital”, Nov 20). According to the statistics available, Delhi has the highest number of rape cases among the four metropolitan cities. Perhaps the low rate of prosecution in rape cases has been instrumental in the rise of the crime over the last few years. As long as the judiciary refuses to deal with rape cases expeditiously, such crimes will continue unabated. Further, a lengthy trial usually helps the rapist get off.
The Supreme Court had in a recent judgment directed the lower courts to show greater sensitivity in dealing with rape cases. However, mere expressions of concern and directives to lower courts will not ensure speedy trials and convictions. Social activists must carry out a vigorous campaign to ensure that rape victims get justice.
D.V. Vamsee Krishna, Bhubaneswar
Sir— The latest incident of rape in New Delhi is horrifying because it occurred in broad daylight and at a short distance from the local police station. It has once again reiterated what we already know — that women in India continue to be vulnerable to sexual assault. That the victim’s family was reluctant to report the crime speaks volumes about the stigma that is still associated with rape.
The inability of the police to apprehend the culprits and the poor conviction rate, has led to a rise in rape cases. Despite pressure from women’s groups, the Centre has failed to suitably amend rape laws to include non-physical forms of sexual assault against women. Rape laws should also bring within their ambit the sexual abuse of both male and female children. It is imperative that rape cases are given top priority since the nabbing of the rapist goes a long way in reassuring the victim.
Joyita De, Calcutta
Sir — The report, “Dalit raped for husband’s Rs 100 loan” (Nov 11), shows that India is still caught in a time-warp while the rest of the world has entered a new millennium. Women continue to be victims of violence, be it domestic or caste-based. The rape of a lower caste woman by an upper caste man is undoubtedly an expression of dominance. And such incidents occur all too frequently in rural India.
The government’s inability to deal with the caste problem is discouraging. Cooperative banks were scheduled to have been set up in every village to save the lower castes from the clutches of the rich upper caste landlords.
However, urban women are equally vulnerable to rape. Unless men are willing to accept women as equal partners both at home and outside, the latter will continue to be abused.
S. Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — Every day one comes across reports of grisly bus accidents in the city. After every accident, buses are burnt by frenzied mobs and speed breakers are put up on busy roads. Yet, despite being aware of the fact that reckless driving and speeding cause most of the accidents, the transport department has not taken steps to impose speed limits. Worse, errant drivers are rarely caught and punished.
Much of the over-speeding is prompted by bus-owners who allegedly reward drivers and conductors who cover the route before time. Although the government is aware of this, it has done nothing to curb the menace. Bus owners should be forced to do away with this system and introduce fixed monthly wages. This will not only help save lives but also make the city roads safer for pedestrians.
Mihir Chakravarti, Calcutta