A heinous crime against a minor took place on March 25 in Matia in North 24-Parganas’ Basirhat. The 11-year-old schoolgirl first went missing on Thursday. She was then found unconscious near a park the next day. A preliminary probe by police revealed she was raped. The police arrested one of her aunts and accused Shahar Ali Sadar.
Shaken by the state of women’s safety in the state, the Calcutta High Court while hearing the Matia Rape Case directed the West Bengal government to install street lights in the village and seek a report from the state on the areas where street lights are required, as per a tweet.
Installing Street Lights For safety: Will they help?
The High Court asking the West Bengal government to install street lights in the village to ensure women’s safety is a welcome step but the problem is that the step has been initiated only after the gruesome incident took place. Why does the government wait for something so horrifying to happen before waking up from its deep slumber and doing something about it. Why were street lights not installed in the village in the first place? What were the authorities thinking? Why did no one in the village voice their concerns about women feeling unsafe due to poor lighting in the area?
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Besides that, how can the installation of street lights in the village really help? Will these lights help in illuminating the mindsets of perpetrators who do not think twice before committing such crimes? A month later, it has been reported that her medical condition is improving but isn’t a major shift in the mindset required to avert incidents of this kind in the future?
Such incidents not only highlight the careless attitude of the authorities towards the welfare of its citizens but also instill fear among women about their safety. We can’t even imagine the collective trauma this incident would have left on young girls in that area? Would they ever be able to step out with the safe confidence that they used to? In a world where we talk about equal rights between men and women, such incidents take us back in time and nullify the progress we have made so far. We are hoping for the time when women’s safety is prioritised and we don’t lose our children’s innocence to such abominable acts.