India

Statement Condemning State Response to Protests

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

The Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) is shocked and dismayed at the reaction of the State in dealing with the protests at North Block on 22nd December 2012. This is against a backdrop of the most brutal gang rape and attack on an innocent 23 year  old girl on 16th December 2012, which still stands basically unaddressed despite promises of fast tracking justice.  The protest is to be understood as a method of expressing anxiety, anger and angst of 50 percent of the Indian population against an apathetic state.

The State has lost its capacity to address events such as this immediately and with responsibility. It stands to reason that strong emotions and reactions from people are inevitable and that it needs to be handled through dialogue and sympathy. Every woman and the parents of every young woman now live under the uncertainty of attack and insurmountable pain. Every woman empathizes and identifies with violence on another, and  it has been reassuring to see men with women protest against brutality and deliberate violence on innocent people.

Curbing such protests with violence by the State is no answer. Many of the placards of the protesters demand maturity of response. The answer does not lie in introducing the death penalty but in delivering faster and more effective justice for the victim. This spiraling frustration is fuelled to make dissenters  demand more and more , including  violent  punishment. What will make a peaceful and safe society for women is  the daily resolution of violence in its  smaller and bigger manifestations.  It is the responsibility of the State to deal with these sentiments immediately, beginning with accepting its responsibilities.

This incident has to be seen as the last in a series of continuous escalating intimidation of people   by the state.  While pleading helplessness in resolving criminal action it is quick to repress non violent protests. This is therefore to be seen as a continuation of a series of such actions.  (Dayamani Barla, from Jharkhand was granted bail after months in jail, only yesterday for protesting against forcible land acquisition and the demand for MGNREGA job cards. The brutal crack downs in  Kudankulam on the peaceful protests against the nuclear power plant will continue to be a shame for our democratic country.)

The State would do well to acknowledge its own inadequacies and redress violence by quick remedial action. That alone can bring the growing trend of violence against women in multiple forms under control. Whether it is Khap panchayats or feoticide, the machismo of a regressive society is fostered and promoted by such actions.

The MKSS strongly opposes the crackdown on protestors and calls for an immediate platform to be created to dialogue with the protests  accepting accountability  and to find methods of effective resolution.

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