The writing on the wall is huge and ugly. 

Ram Rahim verdict The deadly rapist is safe but unknown Indians will die
Voices Opinion Monday, August 28, 2017 - 09:55

We are all safe ahead of tomorrow when the quantum of punishment for rapist Ram Rahim Singh will be pronounced. Bandobast has been going on in full swing in New Delhi and we are monitoring it from our gated communities and sending messages to each other. The national capital is in a shutdown mode, lest someone important gets hurt. Important people getting hurt is important. 

We, the cowards always make sure us and ours rarely if ever suffer the consequences of our action or inaction. That is how power works. It cuts across political party lines and hues. The full and ugly face of complicity is known only to the few who benefit and hand it out for favours. Careful, there's not enough to go around 1.3 billion people and a few will die given the magnitude. The full force of our cowardice was apparent when a young lady, Jyoti Singh, was brutally raped in our neighbourhood. How is something like this possible in our neighbourhood?  We were so shocked, we called her Nirbhaya, the fearless, as we trembled in fear in the comfort of our homes.
 
It took India’s children to pour out onto the streets of New Delhi for the government to react, but not before our democratic dividend had been sprayed with water guns in the middle of winter. That same democratic dividend about whom we boast ad nauseum as India’s future. We tried to shoo them away hoping they would disappear like the insides of Jyoti Singh who lay dying on the streets of Delhi while no one stopped to help. How could we? We were rushing to buy candles to join the protests as and when they happen and getting ready for channels as they called us for reactions. Indignation, wagging of fingers and trading of abuse across political parties. Next.

We includes all of us – governments, civil society, media, people. All of us who knew what was going on in Dera Sacha Sauda where the rapist lived and built his kingdom of filth and crime that makes Sodom and Gomorrah look like kindergarten. He did this with with conspicuous political patronage and pomp. I was shocked to read that he had been granted a very high level of personal security. He probably feared his own shadow - cowards usually do. Stories of what went on in the innards of the organisations are beyond scary. Petrol bombs, guns, ammunition, guards – these cannot be amassed without political complicity. Now we hear about terror links and elaborate escape plans. Suddenly we know so much about a very sick and dangerous man. Fake shock. Faux indignation. 

The nature of the crimes were so grave and the period over which they occurred so long, it is futile to blame one or other political party. But that has not stopped all of them from claiming credit or discrediting others over what went on under their collective nose if something like that even exists. The son of the journalist who was killed for exposing the rapes summed it all up eloquently when he said all political parties played with the wounds of the victims.

How many such monsters masquerading as the voice of god are we allowing to grow in our midst? How many times have we turned away from reporting these charlatans because it doesn’t concern us directly? Democracy is a shared responsibility. As the democratic dividend wants a place in the sun beginning with jobs, how long are we going to dance on pin heads hoping to keep us and ours' falsely safe and protected? 

We in the media failed ourselves and our viewers, readers and listeners by not alerting them to the monster we entertained - an ogre that finally came to haunt us all. There are any number of interviews online to see the kind of platforms that were given to the rapist without questions about all that we are writing now.  We also failed to push our political leaders to take action against him. I don’t want to go into why I think this happened, but its an easy guess. Or at least I think so. We didn’t learn any lessons from Nirbhaya. If we had, we would not have protected the Pachauris, the Tejpals and the Mukherjees. 

Shocked that I added the last three names? Why? It's only a question of degree. Once you get into that kind of negotiation, you are already an accomplice. Remember, big crimes always begin with a small one and we all close our eyes around us in the hope that nobody will find out. Monday, August 27, will tell many stories about Indians to Indians. As we wait to find out more, ask yourself this - why didn't Panchkula see the kind of bandobast New Delhi is seeing. The writing on the wall is huge and ugly. 

 

(Views expressed are personal.)

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