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CITY WAKES UP

It is high time for the CM to convene an emergency meeting of top officials and review the law and order situation. It will be in the fitness of things that if the police administration would take effective steps, especially to prevent the harassment of the women.

india Updated: Mar 29, 2006 00:48 IST

It is high time for the CM to convene an emergency meeting of top officials and review the law and order situation. It will be in the fitness of things that if the police administration would take effective steps, especially to prevent the harassment of the women.
L Lall

Remember Mr SSP! You are a uniformed officer owning allegiance to your country. Also remember your oath on joining the force. Get away from political influence and get the murderers hanged to give peace to Late Mehar Bhargava's soul, and create confidence in minds of citizens of Lucknow that law and order exists.
—Major GI Punvani (retd)

Mehar is dead, may her soul rest in peace. Many Mehars have gone unnoticed in the past. Enough is enough. Lucknowites should pick up the gauntlet and not be mere mute witnesses to the cases of rape, eve-teasing, assaults and murders and atrocities against  women. Remember to light a candle and pray for the many Mehar's who have sacrificed their lives for a better tomorrow.
—Rajesh Rodricks

Goodbye to ‘langour’

I did not know Mehar Bhargava personally, but that is no reason not to mourn the violent death of one, who by all reports was a vivacious spirit. The photograph her family chose to display at the site where citizens came to express their regret and register their protest reflected a lively soul with an infectious smile. If it was not for the garland of orchids that adorned her likeness, it would be difficult to believe that she was no more.

Mrs Bhargava was a woman of privilege who chose to make a difference. Her death has galvanised a “moribund community” into demanding action; replacing the traditional overpowering torpor to avoid confrontation. She has shown the way to a class of people which, if they take a stand, can make a difference.

The people who gathered in a spontaneous outpouring of sorrow and concern were educated professionals, politicians, academicians, administrators, lawyers, former royalty and the socially well-connected. Mrs Bhargava’s murder has given these disparate groups a reason to come together. As a more immediate concern, the pressure will be maintained for her killers to be brought to justice.

The more far reaching consequence is likely to be the establishment of a united citizens’ group that is willing to challenge grievances.

The conversion of Lucknow into a metropolis has brought undesirable elements to the city. Rather than being assimilated into its gracious ways, they have vitiated its ambience. Conventional wisdom would have demanded prudence from a middle-aged woman who had only her daughter in law and a driver to ward off a group of inebriated goons. But Mrs Bhargava was an unconventional woman, refusing to allow her femininity the benefit of tolerating an unsolicited insult with stoic indifference. She chose not to look the other way. She stood up to them, demanded an apology and threatened to hand them over to the law. Misplaced machismo found this intolerable and she was shot at point blank range.

Inevitably, the blame game has begun. This includes: blame the son for his choice of tenants, blame the government for protecting criminals, blame the Press for sensationalising the news, blame the administration for succumbing to pressure, blame the victim for her temerity to challenge the offenders, blame the daughter in law – the casus belli being her choice of clothing. But when we cut through the flab that bloats and distends the argument, the basic point remains that the killer, fully identified along with his protectors and the motley gang that provides him shelter and security has not been caught. Any wonder why the citizenry is outraged.

Lucknow has the example of Jessica Lal to know exactly what should not be allowed to happen if this case is to end with commensurate judicial retribution.

In the former instance, despite Indian apathy and a seven year hiatus, the nation expressed and registered its outrage, leading to the case being reopened.

Here, a concerned city, with the eyes of the nation on it will watch that a similar cover-up is not repeated. The cosmetic sops of transferring or suspending junior-rank policemen or conducting a few inconsequential arrests will be scrutinised and seen through in the manner that Lucknow, especially through its Press, seems to have learnt rapidly and well. The pressure must continue. Until that time, let us advise the family not to place an epitaph on her grave. The final statement on this tragedy has not yet been made. Let the anger and frustration be resolved and a tribute of love replace the bitterness and anguish that her death, until now, must surely provoke.
                                                                                                 Carlyle McFarland