Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Savage Kerala

Last Sunday’s evening news on a Malayalam TV channel showed shocking visuals of a fully pregnant woman, her 16 years old daughter and an even younger son being beaten up by a mob in broad daylight. The savagery started in a cloth shop. The woman was then dragged down to the road where the thrashing and stomping continued. Her clothes were pulled away partially and torn, exposing her lower belly and underclothes.

Initially I thought that the news was from some North Indian State where incidents involving men (not women) being beaten to death or lynched by angry mobs were reported recently. But I was sadly mistaken. The shocking scenes were from Kerala, the so called God’s Own Country.

The problem started when a woman customer at the shop reported that one anklet of her child was missing. Immediately suspicion turned to a group of females from a nearby State, who happened to be on the premises. In any civilized country, the proper drill would have been to inform the police and have the suspects searched by lady constables.

But not so in ‘literate’ Kerala. A mob gathered immediately and started beating the pregnant woman and her children with hands and rods, punching them and kicking them. According to the media, this show in Edapal Town went on uninterrupted for about 45 minutes. When the police finally arrived and searched the woman, the missing anklet was not found on her. She was reportedly hospitalized by the police.

The political reaction was predictable. Ministers condemned the assault, a couple of junior policemen were suspended, a case was registered and about half a dozen people arrested. The Human Rights Commission has also taken up the issue.

But what is the use? To convict an accused, credible witnesses are required. The people who were close enough to the scene were all busy sharing the action. The battered woman and her children would be the ideal persons to identify the culprits. But they are mysteriously missing from the hospital. Either they ran away to escape further torment or they were removed from the place to protect the assailants. The police are of course searching for the bruised pregnant woman and her children, identification photos in hand! These are the kind of things which happen in Kerala today.

Has there been any damage to the life that is growing in the womb of the assaulted woman? Who knows? Does any one care?

I feel that all of us Keralites should hang down our heads in shame.


Also see:

Kerala: Onam goes up in spirit

Un-ploughed lies my land


Maddy said...

I agree. i have been reading many blogs on this topic. we are becoming more and more apathetic..

Anonymous said...

The very same ladies who were subjected to the brutal attack, were again held (minus the mob, and manhandling) under similar suspicious circumstances at a different place recently.

Whether the previous case was a bit blown out of propotions , due to over enthusiastic indulgence especially that of men folk.. (I vouch majority of the men woudn't spare a chance to lay their hads on women..the motivation.. ), is to be debated..

Still manhandling any one irrespective of their sex, is unacceptable.

Unknown said...

kariyachan, thank you for the comment. I agree with you that manhandling is unacceptable.