It’s been four years since the horrific rape and fatal assault that occurred on the roads of Munirka in South Delhi when a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern Jyoti Singh, now known as Nirbhaya, Damini and several other appellations, was beaten, gang-raped and tortured brutally. Despite of trying every way possible so that she could be one among us today, we lost her. The Nation lost a daughter. The more shameful thing was the cause behind it being the Nation’s sons itself.
The grotesque crime of December 16, 2012 shook the entire nation terribly. The Nation where women are said to be portrayed as Goddesses could do no more justice to this. It gave a much needed wake up call to the existing legislature and judiciary system. The citizens thus, expected a major change. A change that would finally take account of the safety of women in our country. As a consequence, groundswell of candle light marches were performed. Heartening strikes, rallies, protests, sit-ins including those condemning juvenile justice were in full form. At the other shore, many penned down emotional notes. But did they do any good? Did candle marches and rallies yield whatever they aimed at? The answer is “partially yes” or you may say “partially no”.
This is because the convicts were sentenced to death ensuring the judiciary’s zero tolerance towards such crimes. Along with some amendments also occurred. In 2013, Criminal Law(Amendment) Ordinance 2013 was promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee. Several laws were passed which ensured increased security for women. Six new fast track courts were created to hear the rape cases. And above all, the most significant thing which ensued from this brutal assault is that we are finally changing our mindsets and animadverting about the attitude of men towards women in our society. But at the same time it is depressing to note that it took a crime as ill as this to get a nation talking about the safety of half of its population.
Apart from enacting laws, the nation saw responses in different respects as well. One among them refers to Farhan Akhtar, the actor-filmmaker-singer who started a campaign called MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) that aims to sensitise men and create awareness regarding the safety of women.
An excerpt from a poem “what have we done” written by a lady photo journalist post the Nirbhaya incident says it clear:
“socha tha sakht kanoon banega, fir na hoga aisa crime
Par yahan toh momentary hai sab, baad mein kiske paas time”
Followed by a year of slight decline in the number of rape cases, the number tripled thereafter unexpectedly. Other forms of crime against women also being reported substantially. Has the number increased or the reporting got better? If we consider the latter case, we can say it’s a good sign which shows that women are finally coming forward boldly and not hesitating to voice their sufferings. Well, considering the former case has no objection either. In fact, at the end of the day the question is did Nirbhaya get justice? Did her pain pay off? Although, we are definitely seeing a change, is it enough? It is rather slow. But it surely keeps the hope alive that if we continue our struggle, a day will come when women won’t have to question “Is going out safe?”