Tag Archives: rape

BOOK TALK: THIS UNQUIET LAND … by Barkha Dutt

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THIS UNQUIET LAND

(STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES)

By Barkha Dutt

(Published in 2016)

Publisher: Aleph

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

    There is an old saying. ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.’ I think the saying fits in quite well in this case as you’ll come across many lives in this book.

    Barkha began working in 1994 for a news show that was originally broadcasted on Doordarshan. Her entry into journalism coincided with the birth of private TV. But, then, why this book all of a sudden? Showcasing India’s fault lines that runs deep and wide. Some of them even go back, centuries. The book is some three hundred plus pages. Where, she has selected certain topics, that have been haunting India for quite some time now. And these topics have even besmirched India’s reputation abroad. Basically she has handpicked issues that she came across during her career as a journalist. And around those issues the book spreads like a Banyan tree, but without any storyline. Hence it is difficult to summarise or even write a synopsis. However, what I’ve attempted here for you is, the trait of the book. Along with its central points that will give a sense of what the book is all about.

    The book spins around issues and the issues spin around Barkha. It has a gamut of aspects—starting right from her childhood, including parents, education, career, enthusiasm and even frustration. But most of the time … it is India’s helplessness. So, not a very superlative narrative for the country I would say. But I guess it can’t be helped. Because, for most journalists the uncompromising tenet is to first broadcast the negatives comprehensively, and beyond that if the time permits a few positive outlines too. Remember by broadcasting achievements you don’t get as many eyeballs as you get by broadcasting disasters. To substantiate the point Barkha quotes a VIP who says—‘India is a country that moves from headlines to headlines.’ Of course sensational ones. 

     The central theme of the book perambulates around, the last hundred years of India. One could call it the not-so-recent as well as the recent events of India. But then, while cruising through the book one does get a stale feeling, as if you’re zipping through some old newspaper columns or an old magazine article in staccato effect. Certain pages get you a feel as if you’re negotiating a long prose, though well described but high on verbosity. And what really keeps you charged during such narrations, are things that you don’t know, and that too, within what you know and also what goes on behind the scene. Many of us know a lot about the Kargil war through electronic and print media. Yet, we may not know, how important a role, late Mr Brajesh Mishra played in solving the crisis. Or we may have heard about Bhanvari Devi rape case in Rajasthan. But we may not know that ‘Bhanvari Devi’ was the starting point in the rape history of India where the other end was ‘Nirbhaya.’ The title covers the following chapters. Where, each chapter appears to be a short book in itself.

    PLACE OF WOMEN:  the chapter is almost like the rape history of modern India. The description below is about Bhanvari Devi and how ghastly.

     ‘Post rape: ‘Back at the police station, she was asked to strip and leave her ghagra behind as evidence. It was past midnight when she made her way home draped in the thin cloth of her husband’s turban.’ she picks the narration from Bhanwari Devi rape case of Rajasthan and links it up with Nirbhaya.

    In between, the lady author also spreads across to other rape cases, that had figured in various headlines during all these years. At times the narration appears as a memoir with a lot of emphasis on the sufferings of Indian women vis-a-vis the unceasing tyranny of the Indian men. Something, that is even otherwise known to most Indians. But then she doesn’t really relay any out-of-the-box suggestions, to at least dampen the malaise. She gives a good account of a lady journalist. Problems she faced while commencing her career. And in all of that, she juggles quite well with the words but the content doesn’t seem to be very uncommon. In certain pages sentences are long. But then they are vivid and to the point. The book has a tilt towards feminism which is quite obvious.

     It’s high on lexicon for an average reader, who might have to Google more often, to keep cruising. Therefore, the target audience is clearly the elite. But shouldn’t books with such historical sparks be, in easy read format? She has dug out some exhaustive statistics on females of India, especially, working women, and their sexual harassment.

    The book has a striking hard cover. The title is appropriate and gets further substantiated by a pin pointing sub title that says—STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES. It is well presented in terms of font and flow. But it is still not a very moving book. As it swings between, diverse chapters and the personal memoir and does not have a linear penetrating plot. And it goes on and on. Sure intermittently it has interesting frills. As a messenger she has reported the happenings in the most erudite style, but has not presented too much of her own view points. She also touches upon the Gulabi gang of Uttar Pradesh that once operated in full flow. At places the narration is quite pungent when you compare it with the topic. Chapter deals with women’s issues, especially rape where it also cites three other cases. But then there are no incites or suggestions to solve the menace. She also goes on to describe the methodology of women politicians and about the callousness of women officers who are not sensitive to women’s cause. Superwoman versus supermom is comparison she draws quite artfully.

THE COST OF WAR

    This chapter by and large takes you through the sad tale of Kargil War. During the war Barkha was often seen near the the LOC. It was well covered by the channel she was working for, then. I’m sure. She must be carrying evocative memories about it. Such memories don’t die. Rather, you carry them to your grave. In this chapter, she even goes on to describe the role of Brajesh Misra, principal secretary and national security advisor to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in quite a detail, which you won’t come to know unless you read the book. She even elucidates the role that the diplomats of India played in bringing the war to an end, together with the balancing act of the US. She throws up some good war statistics. But she could have vented her views more ferociously. The chapter has a lot of stuff from ground zero.

    It fleshes out some good war statistics. It also hazily talks about gun configurations. The chapter explicates extensively, about the various wars with Pakistan and even the border skirmishes with China. She mixes the blend of her career and the Kargil war quite efficiently. For the general public doesn’t know what all goes on behind the scene and this is where she makes a killing. Excellent and moving description about martyr’s cremation.

     The sentence that moved me was, ‘And so in Kargil without snow shoes or proper high-altitude gear, Vishal and other first-time troops literally crawled their way up to peaks as high as 18,000 feet, where the temperature slipped to as much as ten degrees below zero to fight for the honour of their platoons and regiments.’

TERROR IN OUR TIME

    The chapter covers the gory parliament attack of 2001. It also gives a good account of, the history of terrorism in modern India. In this the lady author covers selected terrorist attacks. She gives a wide coverage of 26/11 Mumbai attack, describes Ajmal Kasab’s episode in detail. And how, in that moment of disaster, communities come together in Mumbai’s Zaveri bazaar. Narration is good and content is extensive. She also sketchily talks about farmer’s suicide. As a true messenger she reports whatever is happening in India. She talks about various issues without any solutions. Then she goes all over and even touches upon Sheena Bora murder case in page 95. She then even adds Samjhauta express and Malegaon blasts. A lot of it is the same and reverberates in your mind as news items of those times. But yes there are some finer points too, which were kept under the carpet, which is interesting. ‘Extremism is a bigger threat than terrorism’ she hears from another VIP.

    But in the ultimate analysis I would ask. If such books even reach the think tank of the dispensation to act upon, or they just get into their personal libraries and sit their as literary accolades. She further makes an important point–200 districts have Maoist movement—India’s red corridor. Where, she richochet’s some good statistics. And gives a good hidden perspective of India, overall.

IN THE NAME OF GOD

    She covers Gujarat riots together along with with the rapes that happened in 2002. A lot of it is a recount of recent history. How kar-sewaks were murdered and Muslims were massacred as a consequence of that. But she nowhere blames the media for reporting inflammable stuff. Rather she rarely points a finger at the media. She covers Gujarat riots in great detail but has less to say about the sentiments of the relatives of the kar-sewaks who were murdered in Godara. The narration appears as catchy news reports without author’s own modulation. She talks about the strong points of Indira Gandhi. She covers Babri Masjid demolition too. And compares the trinity– Narsimha Rao, Rajiv Gandi and Rahul Gandhi

A CHRONICLE OF KASHMIR

    Barkha mentions the minute India released Maulana Masoor Azhar, Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed on 31.12.99 for hijacking IC-814 India turned into a soft state. Farooq Abdullah who was then the Chief Minister of J&K vehemently protested this. She narrates further, ‘the minute we gave in, India became a soft state; an apoplectic Farooq Abdullah, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir during the hijacking of IC-814, would tell me later. He phoned L.K. Advani, the then home minister, to vehemently oppose the release of terrorist.’ … She doesn’t hesitate in exposing India’s weakness. Then she covers the 1st suicide attack of the valley. Even harps about countries spreading terrorism, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. She of course has a lifelong obsession about J&K and doesn’t forget to talk about Nehru’s background and the birth and growth of JKLF. An interesting point that she makes is:

    ‘A month later in September, the prevaricating Maharaja Hari Singh made an offer of accession to India for the very first time. Nehru stunned him by making the deal conditional on the release of Sheikh Abdullah from jail. The maharaja refused.’ She also goes on to describe Patel’s conversation with Nehru. And of course she has described J&K’s constitutional history quite well and has also dealt with the malaise of Kashmir in detail.

OF POLITICAL DYNASTS, JUGGERANUTS AND MAVERICKS

    The chapter is full of anecdotal tales which the readers would love reading. It covers lady author’s encounter with various national and international leaders and even there close relatives. Where, it starts from Priyanka, Raga (Rahul Gandhi) and even Robert Vadhra. Barkha is curt and brusque when she wants to be. She compares Modi with Gandhis only to say, ‘Modi was determined to overthrow the political royalty of the Gandhis. He was a citizen who had come to take the kingdom.’ She disparages Raga, who had the luxury of several years of authority without any responsibility. But he neither became a minister in the government nor took charge of the party.

    She then goes on to describe the sum and substance of Arvind Kejriwal and at one point even draws a comparison between him and Raga. Both are youthful men, in their early forties—where, Arvind is acutely educated, and has a self achieved track record.

    Another interesting point that she makes is about Indira Gandhi under whose leadership Congress as an institution collapsed. She then spreads across to various political leaders of India and their parties. Her description about Mani Shankar Aiyar is engrossing. And there is a good compilation of political barbs. And of course how could she leave out Dr Manmohan Singh. L. K. Advani couldn’t have been left out either with his stories about Babri Masjid and his visit to Jinnah’s grave.

    The interesting comparision she draws is in between the ‘Chaiwala’ and the ‘Mufflerman’ (Namo and Arvind Kejriwal). Talks about ‘Achhe Din’ and ‘Make in India.’

    She opines about Modi, ‘I have always felt, in the many years that I have observed him, that Modi’s ambitions are personal not ideological.’

    I personally feel her overexposure to the affairs of Pakistan and Kashmir in some ways narrowed her journalistic prowess. She got branded. And that reflects in the book also. But then exposure is not always in your hands. She covers Nawaz Sharif and his delegation in the US, and his calling Manmohan Singh a ‘Dehati Aurat.’—that she clarifies.

    She talks about AAP party at length and the anti corruption movement.

A SOCIETY IN FLUX

    This chapter flows all over. It has no direction or plot. Whatever she felt … she has written about. And is quite a contrast to the previous chapters. I guess she wanted to close the book now. India is prone to disasters, so she talks about the Nagapattinam Tsunami of 2004, in Tamil Nadu which she had covered. She describes Ambedkar’s conversion ceremony to Buddhism. Where, she doesn’t forget to remind what Mahatma Gandhi had to say about conversion

    ‘I am against conversion, whether it is known as shuddhi by Hindus, tabligh by Mussalmans, or proselytizing by Christians.’

    Then she covers certain topics that had made it to the headlines. She of course digs into the history of India and fetches out things she had not come across in her career. She describes the pliant middle class of India. Talks a bit about the Modern School, where she had studied. Remembers, the Mandal agitation of 1992, and also brushes past IPL, Sunanda Pushkar and even Lalit Modi.

    Overall, a valuable read. Only if you’re interested in knowing how India operates or rather how the government of the day operates.

*****

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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EVEN#WOMEN #MPs NEED TO BE REMINDED ABOUT ARCHAIC #ABORTION LAWS IN INDIA

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

 

    There are 544 members in the 16th Lok Sabha, and 244 members in the Rajya Sabha, which totals up to 788 MPs. Out of this there are 93 women MPs. That includes the powerful speaker of Lok-Sabha who happens to be a lady. And, yet they don’t have the time and will, and needed to be reminded about the draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014. Pending for a long time now. I am more than sure they all understand the seriousness about abortion laws. Especially, when the foetus has abnormalities or is an ugly consequence of a rape. The editorial in Times of India is an apt reminder not only to our women MPs, who should use women power to get the bill through but even to all our legislators. Currently the apex courts are doing the job of legislators. Read the article below.

IT’S HER BODY

Today’s society and science demand an upgrade of the abortion law 1971

    Parliament’s lackluster pace of legislating leaves citizens suffering various outdated laws. Two cases in the courts this week draw attention to the human costs of a delay in amending the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971—even though an updated draft has been on the table for years. Both cases concern the medical terminations of pregnancy being permitted only up to 20 weeks, a limit that made sense in terms of society and science four decades ago but is seriously out of step with the many developments since. When law’s failure to keep pace with science and global best practices becomes the cause of citizen’s suffering, its very purpose is subverted.

In one case on Monday the Supreme Court allowed a rape survivor to terminate her 24-week old pregnancy. This is the first judicially sanctioned abortion beyond 20 weeks. It followed upon a medical board reporting severe abnormalities in the foetus and its threatening implications for the petitioner. The point of note is that medical technology today can disclose much more information about the foetus after 20 weeks than earlier. Plus, it can make termination of the pregnancy safe for the carrying woman even at 24 weeks.

In another case also on Monday the Delhi high court granted similar relief to a teenaged rape survivor, provided an AIIMS medical panel certifies that the abortion of her 25-week foetus would be safe for this minor. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the apex court that the existing law, with its 2002 amendment, is adequate to handling pregnancy complications warranting abortion after 20 weeks. But the above two cases show that women stuck in such a situation have to seek an exception through the courts, which imposes additional trauma upon women who are already traumatized. Given the logjam at our courts, this also leaves their life in a race against time.

The draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014 provides for abortion beyond 20 weeks under well defined conditions such as if mother’s life is endangered or the pregnancy is caused by rape. Centre should push for this updated legislation instead of upholding a status quo scripted four decades ago. Medical opinion and women’s groups are agreed and it is not even politically contentious. Every delay in passing an upgrade endangers many women’s lives.

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SHORT STORY: PENANCE

Help poor children suffering from Cancer

Copyright@shravancharitymission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

Published by Shravan Charity Mission

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crime1

Flavour – few lines from the story

  • During free time and in lighter moments he spoke quite forcefully about ethics, morality and personal behaviour. Surely, something unusual always simmered in him. But no one knew what.
  • And I always felt there was something boiling in him within the white cloak that he wore. Perhaps, his cloak was his perfect absolution, from his self inflicted penance, if any.
  • They both looked at each other. In the meanwhile the gang-members returned having realized Richard had not joined them. They came around and started whisking Richard to come along with their faces till covered.

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Purchase the story to help poor child cancer patients.

You can receive a PDF copy in just thirty minutes after remitting Rs 100  or equivalent in USD in the following account (After remitting write to us on shravancharitymission@gmail.com)

Name of account: Kamlesh Tripathi

ICICI account no (008301504072)

IFSC CODE: ICIC0000018

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SAU MEIN NINYANNABE BEIMAN, PHIR BHI MERA BHARAT MAHAN- BY A COMMON MAN

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MERA BHARAT MAHAN

   

    I read something very interesting written behind a truck that I was following on a highway some time back till it stopped at a Dhaba. Where, I spoke to the driver who told me these were his heartfelt feelings about present day India. Since all the lines were written in Hindi. I too am presenting it in Hindi using English alphabets for a similar flow and effect. Truly speaking, the lines are quite apt for today’s India and also conveys the love for motherland. 

 

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MERA BHARAT MAHAN

Sau mein ninyan-nabbe beiman, phir bhi mera bharat mahan,

Bukhe nangon ko nichod rahe hain beiman, phir bhi mera bharat mahan,

Jhoot per jhoot bol rahen hain gharman, phir bhi mera bharat mahan,

Sab ke hisse ka kha gaye neta aur afsaran, phir bhi mera bharat mahan.

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Ajab ajab se jari hain farman, phir bhi mera bharat mahan,

Scam ke uppar hai scam, phir bhi mera bharat mahan,

Balatkar ke baad balatkar, phir bhi mera bharat mahan,

Mazhabon ke beech hai ab hai darmiyan, phir bhi mera bharat mahan.

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Lal aur neeli battiyun ki hai bharmar, phir bhi mera bharat mahaan,

Shauchalaya ki hai mara mari, khule shoch ki hai bharmar, phir bhi mera bharat mahan,

Aur kya kahun Mahoday, in makarraon ke beech bhi hai, mera bharat mahan.

Written by a Common man–a truck driver.

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Share it if you like it

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

Story of an Indian salesman who is lowly qualified but fights his ways through uncertainities to reach the top. A good read for all salesmen. Book launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon.com and Flipkart

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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Article: RAPE CRIME IN INDIA

Copyright@ shravan charity mission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

There is no doubt about the fact that someone runs India. But when a heinous crime such as rape is committed in a Uber Cab it appears no runs India. On the contrary it runs on its own inertia. As the powers to be, feign ignorance, about how the crime was committed and ask for one last chance to fight the menace. So, then who runs India? One answer could be these criminals who always succeed in hoodwinking the dispensation while committing such nasty crimes. In front of whom our meek society and the establishment appear as simpleton. Where, these men in high places come out with some face saving, stereotype statements such as the ‘culprit will not be spared’ and just then another culprit surfaces, even before the previous one is forgotten.

There was only one 9/11 in the US, and with that they learnt their lesson and ensured it never happened again. Surely, they must have done something worth the while, to fox and ensnare such criminals as a strong preventive. Similar mindset we find in Israel. But the story in India is quite different. For we are not aspiring that high as of now, as it doesn’t suit us and it could be grossly inconvenient for our establishment. Therefore, in India there is never a last time but always the next time and we deal it, with the gift of the gab.

REALITY CHECK

Today’s TOI reports 1706 cabbies were booked in the uber-crackdown. But then where was Delhi Police before this rape in the Uber-cab? I guess this is all, that Delhi Police knows in terms of prevention of crime–to book people after the crime. And, beyond this they don’t have the competence to deal with the subject. One can also make this out, from the many Delhi Police Commissioners that have come and gone. Not one has proposed a different unconventional, out-of-the-box plan to prevent rape crime in the capital and that itself exhibits the mental bankruptcy. Most have just kicked the can on the road. And, what can one poor commissioner of police anyway do, even the criminal knows.

GOVERNMENT’S INTENTION

Also, government’s intention to come out with a foolproof plan to prevent rape crime is a suspect across various political establishments that we have seen till now. Whether it is the will or mental or physical lethargy we don’t know. A management thought says if you keep taking the same action each time and expect a different result it will never happen. But, in case of rape crime forget the action; government has not even proposed a new template for prevention of rape crimes. And, that it self speaks volumes. Moreover, the new trend, that the higher courts need to direct the executive on all important issues to act is also alarming.

WAY FORWARD

The traditional method of policing is not effective in preventing rape crimes. Rather it is failing miserably. The traditional policemen are only good for writing FIRs. That too when they are told from the top and to some extent catching criminals at a later date. So we need something different. And can that be technology based is something we need to study? We should also emulate best police practices in terms of crime prevention from other countries and implement the same for rape crimes but all of this requires political will.

Political parties and governments need to realize. If you want to continue in power, merely being ahead of your nearest political rival is not going to be enough. You will have to beat them by leaps and bounds. And for that you will have to deliver what you’ve promised. Remember, the public of India has an elephant’s memory and coming to their aid are countless sound bites where you’ve promised prevention of rape crime. So wake up.

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