An open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Kiran Bedi
Does every rapist not have parents? Does every rapist not have a teacher? Don't rapists have a family and close friends? Then? Where is the mind of a rapist coming from? Where is it getting formed? Home? School? College? Neighbourhood? TV? Item songs? Mobile technology?
So, where do we begin the prevention of such a mindset before the systems respond, which being - police, crisis centres, forensics, law, courts, prosecution, witnesses and prisons and more.
India needs a mindset revolution at the people's level first, alongside all other institutions. This social revolution to be electric and magnetic will have to be led by no other than one person and position - Mr Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister's Office. Because when PM speaks, country listens. When the PMO coordinates the government is synergised.
The beginning of this revolution could be from the ramparts of Red Fort, in the PM's first Independence Day message to the nation when the entire country will be glued to their televisions, listening.
We cannot lose this national day. In view of the gravity of the situation concerning repeated incidents of brutal rapes and atrocities concerning women. We are being internationally condemned in this regard. Therefore this is an open letter to our Prime Minister to please consider the following in his Independence Day message; with a similar request to state CMs to follow the spirit.
Here are the messages required for this social revolution. Beginning with:
1. All parents - To take responsibility for the children they give birth to. They must instil a sense of responsibility in their sons and courage in their daughters equally. Responsible behaviour respects all. It can never commit rapes! They must ensure that homes are safe havens where no crime against a woman takes place. Parents have to take responsibility to be the first teachers of their children.
2. Message for school teachers - Their role is not only to make students pass the class courses and get marks but ensure they learn value-based life skills, which ensures civility in their behaviour towards all. Persons groomed in civil behaviour do not commit rapes! They are sensitive to others dignity.
3. To people at large - If they see a woman in distress, in their neighbourhood, in their community, or in a public place, they must respond, intervene and not walk away as is the case today. It's about responsible citizenship.
4. To his own political fraternity - To be respectful. They cannot afford to say anything, which brings down the respect towards women. No casual remark, which causes disrespect, be tolerated. They instead need to take charge of their respective constituencies, go house to house to drive the change. Like they went house to house with folded hands to get votes! And hold corner meeting to fast track the social revolution.
5. To tell the cops - That no government will tolerate their callous or unprofessional response to any complaint of crime against a woman. They must not accept any interference in the process of investigation. They must also be diagnostic and inform people of what is causing such crimes for people and all other stakeholders to do correction.
6. To the district administration - To ensure the panchayats do not demean women's position. On any grounds of caste or creed. They need to mount vigil in their respective villages through community policing.
7. For his own government - That it will ensure speedy justice! On all counts.
The PM could assure country men and women that he will lead the social revolution and will set up a task force to oversee it and report directly to him. He will review the situation every three months and do all that it takes to change mindset that hereafter no one will tolerate violation of a women's dignity.
Last but not the least. The PM could urge the media to exercise self-regulation and self-restraint in projecting women in a manner, which is derogatory to the dignity of women! Finally, it's all about self-regulation and mutual responsibility.
In brief, we are talking of a 6P comprehensive plan of crime prevention. It's people, politicians, police, prosecution, prisons and press. Once this revolution is announced by the Prime Minister on August 15 from the ramparts of Red Fort, it will assume a whole new dimension of seriousness. Perhaps override all the misstatements made so far by several politicians, which haunt us repeatedly!
Prime Minister Modi, by giving a call for respect and safety of women and turning it into a social revolution, will be correcting historical and cultural infirmities, which have seeped into our mindsets! And in our DNA. It will not change in one year - it may require all his term and more. But the decline will have got checked and hope revived!
Honourable Prime Minister Sir, what purpose will a strong economy and skills development serve in a country where half of its population feels insecure? And lacks basic security infrastructure? India owes it to itself. India owes it to the world community!