Aren’t we living in an emasculated society? Just two days ago, a horrifying incident occurred in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, where a 12-year-old girl fell victim to a heinous crime. Shockingly, after being subjected to a terrible ordeal, the young girl was left pleading for help on the streets in a semi-nude and bloodied condition for a harrowing two and a half hours. Tragically, instead of coming to her aid, bystanders merely observed the unfolding tragedy. This apathy should be vehemently condemned by one and all.
The alarming insensitivity displayed by society is concerning. While instances of societal insensitivity are regrettably common, this incident felt like a suffocating blow to the collective empathy of society.
The young girl, a mere child, wandered the streets of Ujjain in an unconscious and distressed state for over two hours, with her body soaked in blood and in desperate need of assistance. Yet, the society she appealed to, remained callous and unresponsive. This is a shame on a society that claims to be progressing on the growing issue of child and sexual violence.
Society often deflects responsibility by blaming the government for such atrocities. What is needed is swift justice for the perpetrators of this heinous crime, calling for their immediate punishment through hanging. Additionally, there must be ostracization of those who callously ignored the young victim’s cries for help.
Rakhi, a psychologist working with Sampurna, a New Delhi-based non-governmental organisation working for the cause of women, raised thought-provoking questions about society’s silence in the face of such horrors. She questioned why passersby do not stop to aid accident victims, citing recent incidents of bystanders failing to intervene during shocking acts of violence. Rakhi further argued that while one individual may act maliciously, the collective inaction of a group represents a grave example of inhumanity. She emphasized that the 21st century continues to bear witness to disturbing instances of human insensitivity.
Asha Jain, Sampurna’s Executive President, raised important questions about the role of laws and politicians in addressing such concerns, underlining the pressing need for introspection. She called for sustained dialogue on this critical issue through seminars and conferences in homes, schools, and communities. She challenged the notion that this problem does not concern society at large, emphasizing that it is an issue that affects the identity and safety of all, including daughters and women in the country.
Mostly girls coming from the lower strata of society, when navigating public spaces, face difficulties which are concerning. Anti-social elements often create disturbances on the streets, making it uncomfortable for them to travel safely. It is time for a powerful display of unity and outrage, and to protest against the shocking inaction and indifference of society in response to this recent incident.
*Dr Shobha Vijender is the founder and president of Sampurna NGO established in 1993.