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CRPF Molestation In The Name Of Raksha Bandhan: Can We Stop The Protection Nonsense?

First tie Rakhi, then molest

CRPF [Representational image. Courtesy: Flickr]

Had a happy Rakhi? All protective brothers and much sisterly pyaar? No, of course there is nothing wrong in celebrating a festival you like. [Except that the very premise of it is in sexism.] Anyway, when has that mattered. We are the nation of Karva Chauth and seeking blessings from the husband dear, falling at his feet. But what if the country tries to push a festival down your throat? That happened. On top of that, young women were molested. The state sponsored way.

What happened?

Since Rakhi somehow becomes the national sentiment, a private news channel thought it was the best opportunity to make peace with the CRPF in Maoist stronghold Dantewada in Chhattisgarh. Isn’t that just awesome. We have CRPF, that has many allegations of sexual harassment and rape so let’s all bring them into a school and proclaim them brothers to young tribal girls. Such goodness. Much wow! Are you people taking lessons from our courts that ask the woman to get married to the man who raped her? Sure looks like that.

Brave CRPF troopers

There were so brave that they thought it was okay to molest girls. According to Himanshu Kumar’s Facebook post that brought the matter to light, around a hundred CRPF males were let inside the school where around five hundred tribal girls tied rakhi to them on 31st July, 2017. According to this Hindu festival, with the band being tied on the ‘brother’s’ wrist, he pledges to protect his ‘sister’ forever. Yeah, right!

May be because of all that protection, when the girls went to the loo, five or six CRPF soldiers followed them. It’s like saying, we will now protect you from urinary tract infection. Next time women should let us in when they have sex. We will protect you from rape and STDs too. Nice try but really?

When the girls protested to them standing near the loo, they said that they had come to ‘search’ the girls. Wah! Who gave you people this great insight that you can ‘search’ anyone you please? In the name of frisking, which was illegal to begin with, you molested three girls. Is this how you ‘protect’ people? Then please, sirs, please don’t protect anyone.

It didn’t end there. The post said that

‘A girl was inside the toilet when three soldiers also entered the toilet,
For fifteen minutes, the three soldiers stayed inside the toilets with that tribal girl,
The other girls standing outside were kept quiet out of fear by the other CRPF men there,’

Have you not seen toilets? Do you or do you not know that accompanying girls to toilet when they resented it is harassment? Or is this how CRPF generally functions? Do you sneak up on toilets regularly to offer protection or to ‘search’? Then it is time for you to confine yourself to a cell, people. You are dangerous to the safety of women around you.

Cover it up

The great Rakhi event was one intended to portray CRPF as human-tribal friendly and other such nonsense. It was covered by media and was perhaps hosted just for that reason. So when the girls told the warden what had happened and she informed the SP and the collector, they chose to ignore it. Oh not just ignore. They called the girls to the CRPF camp and threatened them. Are you out of your mind, people? You threatened tribal girls who came to you seeking justice?

As if that wasn’t enough when Soni Sori tried to visit the school, she saw that they had locked the school up to activists and journalists. So first you will create a situation where young women were molested and later when you sense that they are going to speak up, you will try and shut them up. Have you heard of a word called cowardice? Well, now you have. You people are cowardice personified. If you, as an authority in charge of young tribal girls can’t ensure that they are not harmed within the school, right under your nose, instead of shutting the school from people who ask about it, you should be resigning and asking for help. From people who know how to do their job. Got it?

Now what?

According to a report in Hindustan Times, the police have registered an FIR and are probing the matter. But the questions remain. Will action be taken against those in the police and the collector who refused to take action and threatened the victims? Will the country wake up to the reality that there is nothing to be celebrated about CRPF, just like how there is nothing to be celebrated about an employee of any organization doing their job. They work for the government. Well, so do clerks in government offices. So do teachers and a wide range of professionals. Nobody invites them to schools and asks girls to tie Rakhi to them.

More importantly when will this idiocy stop? I mean when CRPF already has allegations of rape against them, why would anyone invite the same force for a publicity stunt? Oh yeah, we know. It’s only tribal girls who suffer. Not your ‘own’ women. Isn’t it? Great going with politics there. Tell us when you have grown up.

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