Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Assault on the Senses: Days 37 - 38

Day 37

It’s getting really cold in Chandigarh. It’s a different kind of winter here; the temperatures don’t go anywhere as low as they do in New York, but there’s no heating indoors so it’s pretty much just as cold inside the house (if not more) as it is outside. It’s strange seeing your breath as you sit in bed. We wear lots of layers here, sleeping in flannel pants and sweatshirts, covered in multiple warm blankets.

We started our New Year last night sitting with our family here in India, cuddled up together in bed, watching a broadcast of a program in a Delhi Gurdwara on TV.  I love starting the year with simran and prayers; it always makes me feel at peace. Wishing you all a wonderful new year filled with joy and success. Happy 2013!

Day 38

On December 16th, 2012, a woman was brutally attacked on a bus in Delhi. Going home after watching a movie together, the 23-year-old woman and her 28-year-old boyfriend had boarded a public bus, not knowing that the five male passengers already onboard were taking the bus for a joyride with the driver. The five men began taunting the couple, and when the woman’s friend tried protecting her, he was beaten, gagged, and knocked unconscious. The five men then dragged the woman to the rear of the bus, beat her with an iron rod, raped her repeatedly, and then shoved the iron rod into her vagina, causing massive internal damage to her abdomen and intestines. The attackers then stopped the bus and threw the couple outside onto the street. They were determined to kill the couple, as they tried to run them over with the bus, but the woman’s friend pulled her away. The two victims lay naked and unconscious on the street for almost half an hour, until finally a passerby called the police. The woman died thirteen days later in a hospital in Singapore.

As gruesome as this attack was, the response of the Delhi police was probably just as inhumane. According to the woman’s friend, the police arrived at the scene from multiple police stations after about 30 to 45 minutes. The officers then stood at the scene to discuss under which station’s jurisdiction the case fell. Nobody gave the couple clothes to cover themselves, and nobody called an ambulance. It took a total of two and a half hours for the couple to reach a hospital from the time they were thrown off the bus. And it wasn’t even a nearby hospital; they were taken to a hospital that was far away.

In response to this horrific attack, protests have started all over India. (Don’t even get me started on the police brutality that ensued during the protests.) Protesters called for a “Bharat Bandh” tomorrow, January 3rd, 2012. “Bharat Bandh” is basically what it translates to: various organizations gets together and shut down for the day in protest. This includes shops, transportation, offices, etc.

Fortunately, this attack is generating a lot of attention and international concern. We can only hope it will spark some changes in the way rape cases are dealt with, the method in which the police conducts their business, and the way society views women. It’s about time for reform.

No comments:

Post a Comment