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Muzaffarpur Shelter Homes: One Problem, Constant Developments, No Solution

The Muzaffarpur Shelter Home incident is one of the most dreadful news stories in the past week. It’s strange and surprising that the media has been covering this news for a long time now. Such stories usually get broadcasted for a couple of hours to increase the channel’s TRP but that’s just about it. There is no sense of responsibility that the media houses take to really cover these issues to bring about a change. I guess there is nothing else interesting happening in the country and that’s why the media has been given attention to this issue. Nevertheless, the focus is not on the girls or the solution but about the politicians.

It’s heart-wrenching to see politicians and administrators screaming at the top of their voices and staging a protest (read staging in its literal sense) over this issue but are in no way brainstorming a solution. Why do we elect people and trust them to make the right decisions for us? Why do we time and again believe that they will give us solutions and ensure that justice prevails? I’ve personally come to the realization that all the headlines and protests are nothing but gimmicks to pool in empathy from voters.

The key word here is ‘voters’ since the politicians look at the population as voters and not as humans. A case of this quantum wherein 34 girls have been sexually violated is not the time to play politics. External security is one of the top priorities of our government. The way NRC is being rolled out is a classic example. I tend to ask then, what about the internal security? The internal safety and security of women in our country is a case in point here. The safety of women within state-funded shelter homes in Bihar have fallen off the edge. If reports are to be believed, the 34 girls in the shelter homes were raped. It’s impossible to comprehend that within the boundaries of the government body, girls who are there for help are raped. Sadly, that still doesn’t get covered in the news. This story is very popular because of the different turns it has taken.

The headlines are filled with different party members accusing the Bihar government of its inaction. The RJD led protest at Jantar Mantar which was attended by Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal was nothing but a façade. When Tamil Nadu farmers protested at Jantar Mantar for over two months, this news was not covered, no front-page stories were published nor did any politicians pay heed. The issues of women safety and security have become the battleground for politicians. The protest was not about seeking justice for the girls, punishing the accused or demanding stringent laws but it was about criticising Mr. Nitish Kumar, his party and demanding for the resignation of his social welfare minister. The tweets came flowing from our representatives who just played dirty politics.

When this issue was raised in the parliament, nobody wanted to pray in hope for those girls or debate on rigorous policies. The point of the matter was to demand Mr. Rajnath Singh to issue a statement. When he refused, papers were torn and books were thrown in the air. We definitely get to see diversity in our parliament. Reactions and actions which are absolutely unnecessary and irrelevant. In between all of this, the media highlighted the alleged difference between Congress and RJD over the resignation of the chief minister of Bihar. There are a couple of things to be noted here: firstly, the Congress and RJD faction issue are of no relevance at all. Secondly, it’s not an issue based on Mr. Nitish Kumar that they are asking him to resign. The media has not been sensitive at all in this regard and have definitely skipped the ethics part of their job.

Now that Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma has resigned, I’m wondering as to what the media will cover and what the politicians will fight over. It’s extremely unfortunate that no fast track proceedings and no swift action have been taken. It’s really the time to wake up and make a point. It’s time we stop hearing news of women being raped. It’s unfortunate that we have to read and hear about rape cases every day. It’s become so common that no attention is paid. I fear that rape will be normalized in our society. We have the case of marital rape for that matter where people don’t even think of it as a problem. It’s time to ponder upon these pertinent questions and brainstorm ways by which we can curb these problems.

Picture Credits : freepressjournal



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