The 14th April 2017 Gang Rape accumulating anxieties and instigated communal pretension in Manipur was sad news indeed. In Manipur it would be the first of such happening, in the state’s civil society.
Responses from the ground:
Today the new social media became a dependent of maximum and minimum democracy. The incident of gang-rape was shared and posted on social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp etc., and there were a little acknowledgement from old medias; newspapers, television channels etc. The main protagonists of the post gang-rape mobilisation were from the emerging generation of urban youths. Surprisingly, scholars, human rights-activists or NGOs remained silent. While the state government is so disoriented that it delayed a formal public statement regretting the gang rape. Invitingly it seems Manipuris were quite normal to such incident.
Nurturing social movements:
Manipur is a ‘small India’ where multicultural, multiethnic and diverse communities reside. In most cases, political movements and any social movements are tackled at the cost of communal pretension or community-based which becomes a usual way of doing politics in our state. Society comes to a halt when gruesome crimes are brought to light and this brings increased anxiety when they are read on the lines of community or class. Hence, collective responses are hardly built even in some critical issues, which is a challenge to all humanist and good citizens of Manipur. If common ground has been missed for an incident like this case (gang-rape), we might discover trust-deficit in our judicial system, and it would prompted a ‘status competition’ (anything less means their loss has been devalued) amongst us.
Contesting Judicial sphere:
Customarily, in Tribals’ society when someone is accused of rape, he was fined; proportionate to his current assets, and spurn out of the village (in hills), the same ruling or procedure is followed by the plains (Meiteis). However, in this modern era, the responsive state upholds laws and orders via police system—in criminals and other social issues. So, we can be misled by intriguing the state’s law into our hand and over-act to the culprit’s families. Our anger should be shown to the rape-culture and not to family or the society of the rapists. We must understand that such incident is a moral dilapidation, and an unwarranted occurrence to both the families of the victims and the culprits.
Notes on the incident:
Cheiraoba’s Thabal chongba is an annual festive event, where youths can freely enjoy and celebrates. Degrading the festival status-quo (values) with such incident would be a shame. Therefore the state should ensure safety to win the tussle against such illicit incidents (rape-culture). Our women must be free from fear and insecurities in their own land. They should enjoy as much as an individual can. Morally, society is responsible to upholds and empower them.
It’s important to note that rape is a heinous crime committed by a rapist whichsoever community or classes they belongs. One should avoid projecting a rapist to his belong society or community, which inspires community pretension or tension, despite healthy approaches for the society. This endeavor calls all human right activist, locals and NGOs too. Thanks to the concerned police who turnout at fast-track and put the rapists behind the bar. Yes, we have strong laws to protect woman but these laws can never bring back the emotional injury to the victim in her life.
Rape culture should not be given a platform to be continued to as not tackling such issues in other words only mean it’s a minor issue. So all Manipuris from the statesmen to laymen; and from the state to every individual should shield mother Manipur from a demon-like ‘rape culture’. Now section 376-C(Gang Rape) /120-B/363/34 IPC and Section(6) Protection Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 were put on track, and one should expect justice from the court’s verdict.
Tussle against humanity is a tussle for all humanist or righteous individuals. Movement against ‘victimising women’ is not specifically confined to the feminist spectrum, but also to all human right activist and righteous individuals. The ruling BJP government should not wait the feminists; they can declare a formal public statement regretting the gang rape.
The Government should also strengthen the implementation of POCSO Act, 2012 and ensure public awareness regarding it. It shouldn’t turn a blind eye on the growing technologies’ impact; circumference of illicit elements awe-inspiring the morale of majority of the tech-savvy youth today. Therefore, it should ensure proper securities in social gatherings or festivals especially those scheduled at night.
Our society needs to learn a lot; youth today are responsible to set examples. It is disgraceful that this incident is our footprint that we show to the world and to our parents.
(The writer the editor of G. Songgel Vangkho Thuso, a local journal paper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)