Meghalaya Woman Heckled, Tied To A Pole; How Is This Okay ?

Meghalaya Woman Tied To Pole
A woman in Meghalaya was tied to a pole at a marketplace and heckled for an alleged pickpocketing. An undated video of the incident from Jowai in the state went viral on social media on May 13. The video showed a woman being dragged to a shed by unknown people during the daytime, asked questions and she was then tied to a pole amidst jeering by onlookers.

The video also showed onlookers including women, children and youth making fun of the woman who was tied up with the pole. Moreover, the woman was carrying a shawl and a bag which was not spotted in the video once she was tied to the pole.

Who permitted the men to take the law into their hands and initiate punitive action against the woman? Why must a woman be subjected to such a derogatory practice for mere suspicion?

Meghalaya Woman Tied To Pole

A senior police official was quoted in a report saying, “An officer and a team from the women police station in the area have been sent to investigate the matter. All the people seen in the video will be called for questioning.” He said, “Perpetrators will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

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Is it okay to heckle a woman in broad daylight and make fun of her over mere suspicions? Who gave the perpetrators the right to tie up the woman and harass her? Why did it not make the on-lookers uncomfortable that a group of men were heckling a woman?

A similar incident happened amidst Karnataka’s Hijab Row wherein a group of boys were seen heckling a student in a hijab. The video went viral when it was first shared on social media. The woman in the video, Muskan, was hailed for clapping back at the hecklers meanwhile many people including celebrities like filmmaker Onir, actor Richa Chaddha and others expressed outrage over the heckling.

There are hundreds of cases of women being heckled by a group for the most trivial reasons. The heckling here is a form of aggression and asserting their dominance over women and their bodies. Their assertion is symbolic of the entitlement that men hold to do whatever they wish to with women. The entitlement stems from the patriarchal ideology which berates women and subscribes them to a subservient position.

Why are we still clutching onto the archaic belief system? Is it a herculean task to unlearn the toxic thought that patriarchy instils in us? Why can’t we treat women as individuals? Will we ever learn to do so?

Views expressed are the author’s own