It’s been five years since India woke up to the horrific tragedy of Nirbhaya’s rape. I’d be wrong if I said there have been no changes to the situation after the incident provoked a massive outrage nationwide. The laws have been amended, new safety measures have been effected, and eyes have been opened to the cruel reality of women’s issues. But none of this would ever make a difference because, at the end of the day, our mindset has remained unchanged.
A disgusting example of this perverse mindset was in exhibition during a recent event, and involved the shocking statements of a former top cop from Karnataka.
At a function honouring women in various fields, Karnataka’s ex- DGP HT Sangliana managed to ruffle several feathers with his remark about Nirbhaya and her mother.
Nirbhaya’s mother, Asha Devi, was a chief guest at the event, where the former DGP was also one of the award presenters. According to Mumbai Mirror, Sangliana made a rather unwarranted comment about her, which left many affronted.
“I see Nirbhaya’s mother, she has such a good physique. I can just imagine how beautiful Nirbhaya would have been.”
Activist Anita Cheria was so repulsed by Sangliana’s words that she wanted to walk out right away. However, she was about to receive an award at the hands of Asha Devi and decided to stay back out of respect for her.
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In her acceptance speech, Cheria gave a scathing critique of the former cop’s remarks.
“When top government officials, from the police, seemingly well-meaning, think it appropriate to comment, appreciating a woman’s good physique, we, as a society, have long way to go to change mindsets and bring any measurable lasting change in favour of women.”
The former DGP did not stay back long, but only enough to present one award to cop D Roopa.
But wait, that wasn’t the end of Sangliana’s foot-in-mouth fiasco! He made another shocking statement on the stage that is sure to make your blood boil, as it did for several in the audience.
“If you are overpowered, you should surrender, and follow up the case later. That way we can be safe, save life, prevent being killed.”
While it was undoubtedly a disgraceful act on the part of the former cop, to utter these words at an event that was meant to honour women seems a humongous act of stupidity. What’s worse though, is that this comes from an individual of such a stature.
It is no surprise then, that when Nirbhaya’s mother rose to give her speech, she claimed sadly that meaningful change was still far, far away.