Congress leader Sheila Dikshit has said in a recent interview that the 2012 Nirbhaya Gang rape was “blown out of proportion” by the media. In an interview to Mirror Now, the former Delhi Chief Minster also said, “There are so many cases like this taking place today, just a small thing comes in the paper.” Dikshit is contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from North East Delhi. While her ouster from power as Delhi CM was largely touted to be due to her government’s inefficiency to make Delhi a safer place for women, which was left exposed by the Delhi gang rape case, its shadow is still following the seasoned politician even today.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Sheila Dikshit has said that the Nirbhaya Gang rape was “blown out of proportion” by the media.
  • The Nirbhaya case brought us face to face with our high tolerance levels when it comes to sexual crimes against women.
  • Some of the coverage may have been political, targeting Dikshit in specific.
  • But it doesn’t obliterate the fact that the Nirbhaya case was the result of decades of inaction on everyone’s part, including us.

It is dejecting to see the former CM still shrugging off any accountability, when it comes lack of safety measures which should have been in place.

Perhaps that is why Dikshit is speaking so defensively, playing the victim card, claiming a massive media witch hunt against her back in 2012-13. However, her remarks come across as insensitive, because the Nirbhaya case was a heinous crime which shook the entire nation to its core, forcing us to talk about women’s safety, brutalisation and rape like it had never before. No way was the coverage it received blown out of proportion. Besides, it is dejecting to see the former CM still shrugging off any accountability, when it comes lack of safety measures which should have been in place.

Who can forget the late paramedic student’s ordeal which gave us sleepless nights? We all could feel a sickening pit in our stomachs reading the details of the case. We had a lump in our throats when she died. And we were all angry and frustrated with inaction and failure of Indian authorities to make streets across the country safer for women. The Nirbhaya case was our tipping point, as it brought us face to face with our unacceptable high tolerance levels when it comes to sexual crimes against women. To what extend must a woman suffer, for us to weep for her? For us to question the lawlessness and male privilege which roams like an untamed beast on our streets?

To what extend must a woman suffer, for us to weep for her? For us to question the lawlessness and male privilege which roams like an untamed beast on our streets?

We held candle light vigils and protests. We began asking questions from the government and authorities like never before. Has much changed since that terrible cold December night in India? Some may feel it has, while others may beg to differ. Rapes still happen, details of brutalisation of women and even children stare back at us from the newspapers every now and then. But we are less indifferent to them than we used to be. It is saddening that a woman has to endure such levels of cruelty to stir something in us.

Indian media has long been struggling with allegations of insensitive coverage and blowing things out of proportion. I have not seen all of the coverage on the Nirbhaya case, but whatever I watched played a big role in ebbing the anger I felt. Would we have known the details which horrified us and threw us into a flurry of dharnas and vigils, if it were not for media? Did the media specifically target Dikshit for her position, or does the former CM simply feel she was made out to be a scape goat to satiate our justice hungry hearts?

We continue to fail victims and survivors of sexual crimes by letting their sufferings become election agendas.

With the election season upon us, these are the questions we are being served, when actually we are looking for accountability from both the media and authorities. The coverage may have been political, Dikshit may have been single out and targeted, but that does not in any way obliterate the fact that Nirbhaya was the result of decades of inaction on everyone’s part, including us and even Dikshit on some level. We failed her and we continue to fail victims and survivors of sexual crimes by letting their sufferings become election agendas.

Picture Credits: Deccan Chronicle

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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