Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez have become household names recently, though sadly after their untimely demise at the hands of some rowdy goons. In a tragic incident on 20th October, these two youths were knifed to death for protesting against eve-teasing. While they were being mercilessly stabbed, the crowd stood there watching the crime taking place like mute spectators. It is said that Keenan’s girlfriend was being teased by the main accused Jeetendra Rana when she along with four other friends came out for paan after having dinner at a restaurant. When Keenan protested against the evil gesture, Rana went away only to return with 20 more drunkards. Firstly, they stabbed Keenan and when Reuben tried to save his friend, he met with the same fate.
There are no words to describe the morbidity of the entire incident. I feel extremely ashamed to even think that we co-exist in the society along with sociopaths like Rana who suffers from personality disorders and can manifest any form of brutality without even an iota of hesitation! As a girl I am very sure that each and every girl in this society, whether pretty or ugly, fair or dark, fully clothed or scantily clad, have faced situations similar to this, if not worse. Though eve-teasing is rampant in India, there are many countries and their citizens who have never heard of such a word. It again reveals the shameful state of affairs of the Indian society. Thousands of eve-teasing incidents occur every day, most of which are either ignored or unreported. Many activists tend to point the reason why girls don’t come out of the closet and protest such incidents. My question to them is how many incidents can you protest, when every other day you face similar situations. The action which we generally tend to take depends on the severity of the malady. In some cases you don’t even understand who is physically assaulting you in a crowded bus. What will you do in such cases? There is not only a single manner in which eve-teasing is done. Some of them can be handled by simply being strict, for some others you need to actually hunt for the actual culprit. These psychopaths are extremely intelligent, they know when to catch their prey without getting caught, and if caught they are sure to make things horrible for the victim and their near and dear ones.
Another aspect which caught my attention was the role played by the crowd, of being mute spectators of the heinous “tamasha”. Why can’t so many people muster enough courage to fight against those drunkards TOGETHER? What has happened to the term UNITED? If all those people standing there, rather than being indifferent, fought in unison against those rowdies, the scene would have been different. Maybe the lives of two young people would have been saved. Such incidents again and again prove that we actually make a hype of what is called the Mumbai spirit. When it was actually required, to fight against some highly spirited (intoxicated) individuals, the spirit vanished.
In the limited time which I get nowadays for watching news channels, what I gathered was that Keenan’s girlfriend, rather than hiding or isolating herself, from the fear of the society, has come out and joined hands with others in the fight for justice. It is clearly and visibly a magnificent sign and my salute to the young and courageous girl for that. There are numerous cases wherein the GIRL does not come out in the open, for the FEAR of nothing else but SOCIETY. The best example which comes to my mind is the case of Bapi Sen, the traffic sergeant who was murdered brutally on New Year’s Eve, 2003 in Kolkata, while trying to save a girl from being teased and assaulted. During the court proceedings and trials, the girl never came out in the open. She was the person for whom an unknown person fought and laid down his life. Yet, even after repeated urges, chose to remain a mystery. I simply fail to understand whether she any better than the culprits. For me she is worse than them and is someone who is devoid of any sort of compassion and benevolence. How can she live a life being so indifferent and mean? Can she be ever true to her conscience, if only it exists in her dictionary? I hope someday her heart shows her the right path. This incident gives rise to another question on my mind, had Keenan and Reuben died for some unknown girl, would she have shown the same courage as being shown by the girlfriend? I hope the answer is YES and remains so. For stopping such barbarous crimes, the need for courageous people, hard to find nowadays, is extremely essential.