Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Talking about harassment

From The Hindu, September 9, 2007

The Other Half


Road rage, rasta roko, face blackening, public humiliation. Every day we read about people who have decided to take the law into their own hands.

Parts of Delhi came to a standstill recently when irate parents and others attacked a school where it was alleged that a teacher was blackmailing girls and pushing them into prostitution. The media exposed this through a sting but for the enraged citizens, the law was the last recourse.

Perhaps they were justified given that some law enforcers seem to believe the same. How else can you explain the ghastly incident in Bhagalpur where an alleged chain snatcher was beaten by the public and then tied to a motorbike by a policeman and dragged until he fell unconscious? That television footage will haunt us for a long time.

The last refuge?

Earlier last month, women members of a political party in Mumbai pulled out a professor in full view of TV cameras and blackened his face because he had allegedly sexually harassed several women students. Could they have used the law to deal with the man? Apparently not, or at least they did not believe the law would make a difference. So they chose the strategy of public humiliation while also projecting their party as a defender of innocent women.

(To read the rest of the article, click on the link)

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