Lakhimpur killings stress why Nari Shakti and women’s dignity shouldn’t be just words in speeches

Two girls, aged 17 and 15, from a Dalit family in Lakhimpur Kheri were found hanging from a tree

It was only a few days ago, on the occasion of the nation’s 75th years of Independence, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated how the new India would stand by, and protect its women. As per the PM’s statement from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort to exhort all about ‘Nari Shakti’. He went about calling for respect to women, stating that the nation should assert against anything that lowers the dignity of women.

Exactly a month later, in Lakhimpur Kheri, two minor girls from a Dalit family were found hanging from a tree. The girls aged 17 and 15, were allegedly abducted by two men on a bike sometime earlier in the day. The story was first elaborated as a case of suicide.

Lakhimpur killings shock nation

It was also reported that the bodies found hanging from a tree on the field, just about half a kilometre away from the girls’ house, had no visible injury marks apart from the marks on their necks due to the hanging. Also, it was stated that the clothes of the victims were intact.

However, in a while, six men were detained and charged as accused in the death of the two minors. This came about after villagers and politicians came out in protest seeking speedy justice. A relative of the unfortunate minor girls told the police that two young men had abducted them on a motorcycle around three hours prior to finding the bodies. It was also stated that the mother of the two girls had ran behind the motorcycle but failed to stop them.

From what has been reported, it has become clear that a gruesome incident has happened yet again. Violence against women has been a continuing episode in the country, and the marginalised tend to suffer more. Such incidents coming even after the Prime Minister exhorting the need for Nari Shakti and the nation’s resolve to protect women’s dignity bring to the fore the state of affairs that remain unaltered.

What is the use of making false statements and promises when women continue to be abused, raped and killed across the nation? Frequent attacks against women have turned out to be a regular affair. The law of the land is thrown to the winds in gay abandon. Blame games by political and community activists are the only things that happen when such incidents are reported.

Lakhimpur arrest
Police have arrested six men for the rape and murder of the two minor Dalit girls

Nari Shakti concept turns out to be a farce

Women safety has turned out to be a farce in a nation that exhorts the power of Nari Shakti. Protecting the dignity of women is reduced to just a statement, while the opposite happens in quick succession. The police intervene and are quick to launch probes when such episodes are brought to light. Prevention of crimes against women fail miserably, when law enforcement agencies fail to think ahead and act to stop such crimes from happening.

The Lakhimpur episode is just one of the many episodes that keep on happening. Significantly, similar crimes have happened earlier in Lakhimpur, and even that hasn’t made the police keep a watch and stop newer ones from being committed. Strange it may seem, but the keepers of law seem to be snoring away till a rude jolt, such as this latest gruesome incident, wakes them up.

One wonders why Nari Shakti gets relegated to speeches and is put under lock and key once the oratory, peppered with flashy words and promises, gets over.  The police, the judiciary and the political mechanism need to act in unison to prevent such crimes. And for that, marginalisation of people in terms of caste, creed and faith also needs to halt.

Sadly, the situation of today is such that a Dalit family’s loss is not seen as major event by a nation that is poised to gallop into the so-called humongous economic horizon. This needs to change. Any citizen – man, woman, or child – deserves freedom from all the bounds that keep them pinned down irrespective of their caste, faith or creed. And for that, just Nari Shakti speeches from public podiums that are away from the Indian soul would not be enough.

The Lakhimpur family that lost two minor daughters deserve justice. Apart from bringing the offenders to justice, the best way to provide them with that would be ensure no such crime is repeated, ever again.

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