It is called “Taharrush”. The Arabic word is the name of a ‘game’ where gangs of men surround women and grope them. Sometimes women are even raped.
It is common in some West Asian (Middle Eastern) countries. The horrible ‘game’ was played by men during the Egypt protests against Hosni Mubarak and, last year, in Germany on New Year’s Day against European women.
Men usually hound women who dress inappropriately according to their understanding of dressing sense in their culture. It is because the views on women that are ingrained in the hearts and minds of men in Arab world is very different from the views that a Westerner or people in other parts of Asia have.
What happened in Bengaluru on the intervening night of December 31-January 1 was Taharrush. That such a horrific Arabian ‘game’ has penetrated the Indian society is, therefore, alarming – not just shocking.
So here are the three things that urgently need to be looked into to prevent Karnataka from turning into a misogynistic Arab world: –
1. The CM must act against the perpetrators and ask his home minister to shut up or resign.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah finds it easy to criticise whatever PM Modi does, but that is expected of any Congress leader. Just a couple of days ago he called the PM a “mouni” meaning silent. That is not a problem. Siddaramaiah can feel like a monarch when his personal assistant ties his shoes. That, too, is not a problem.
— C.T.Ravi (@CTRavi_BJP) December 25, 2016
But the fact that the Karnataka CM is himself silent on the mass molestation is appalling. No action has been planned against the perpetrators, who roamed around like packs of wild dogs on a night of hunting.
His home minister G Parameswara said this yesterday:
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 2, 2017
And he further said:
“As I said, unfortunately what is happening is a large number of youngsters gather on days like New Year on Brigade Road, Commercial Street, M G Road. Youngsters who are almost like westerners, they try to copy westerners not only in mindset, but even the dressing. So some disturbance, some girls are harassed, these kinds of things do happen.”
Yet there is no brouhaha or a word of protest against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah or his minister except that the National Commission for Women (NCW) has issued a notice against the latter.
The manner in which they are treating the incident proves that something is terribly wrong with the leadership in Karnataka.
2. The media needs to come out of Delhi RIGHT NOW and some journalists have to BEHAVE like journalists.
Nearly every big media house – the TV channels, in particular – operates from Delhi and this is why we do not get to hear about anything – even major events – from any place that is more than 1500 kilometres from Delhi.
This is why most of us are still clueless about the Manipur agitation which is on for the last two months now. This is why the Chennai floods of 2015 took time to become a major story. And this is why we that even on the day when some media houses had started picking up the mass molestation in Bengaluru story already a day late, most media houses were busy with PM’s speech in Lucknow and Supreme Court’s decision on use of religion in vote garnering.
What is worse is that the esteemed intellectuals and liberal defenders in the journalistic fraternity have still not criticised the incident the way they do when it happens in “saffron” states.
Had this incident happened in a BJP-ruled state, these defenders of liberalism would have come with daggers drawn at the state government. By ignoring Congress-ruled Karnataka they clearly showed their political bias.
Unlike the manner in which any non-Congress minister would have been treated, the elite media did not tear into either G Parameswara for his obviously outrageous remark or Siddaramaiah for doing nothing. By now, calls for the resignation of any such minister would have been amplified by the media. Yet here we have a deafening silence. The minister has not apologised. And even the Congress high command has not condemned the remark of Parameswara.
3. The security system in Bengaluru needs an overhaul.
Reports say that there were 1500 cops in the area where the molestation happened. That the men still fearlessly went on with their animalistic actions shows a clear failure of law and order. The police has not taken any action against anyone. They cannot be blamed for this because if the state government itself behaves in such a callous manner then the hands of the cops are tied.
The police is mulling taking suo moto cognisance of the incident. “No one has approached the police with an official complaint. However, we are discussing with higher officials on taking up suo moto cases,” said a city police officer to a daily.
Even without a complainant if police finds credible evidence of molestation a case will be registered suo motto without waiting.
— Praveen Sood IPS (@CPBlr) January 2, 2017
It is clear that women who were molested won’t approach the police for two reasons: one, lack of societal support in our ‘progressive’ culture, and, two, the fact that 1500 policemen could do almost nothing.
The report says that transfer orders were sent to some policemen just five hours before the incident happened on the night of December 31. This sudden administrative decision on such a crucial day points at administrative failure. The report, however, says that the senior officers did try to ensure that security remains tight in the midst of the transfer chaos.
That molesters outnumbered such a heavy police force also proves that Bengaluru is fast becoming a dangerous city. Who these people are and where they have come from need to be probed urgently to ensure that security of the city remains intact.
The mass molestation in a city which is the face of India’s growing soft power is a shame for the entire country. Of course, the men who did it should be found and punished.
If the law is allowed to take its course, they certainly will be. If it is not there is no doubt that the Arabian misogynistic ‘game’ will spread its tentacles in India.