News

Violence strikes in India, students respond

In Nagaland, India, 42 students were arrested for being connected with the mob and for beating and lynching a rape suspect in the streets of Dimapur.

Last week a mob surrounded a prison in Dimapur and dragged a suspected rapist out on to the streets where he was stripped naked, beaten and then lynched by the crowd, according to BBC News. This crowd mainly comprised of students.

The man’s name was Syed Sharif Khan. He was a Bengali speaking Muslim trader from Assam and was arrested last month for raping a 19-year-old tribal woman three times.

Injustices like these can be traced back to 2012, when India banned the documentary, India’s Daughter, which explored the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman.

In 2012, when the 23-year-old woman and her male friend boarded an off-duty bus after seeing a film, the man was beaten and the woman was raped by each of the six men on the bus.

Ishant Desai, a senior engineering student at John Brown University, from Gujarat, India, said that rape is a big issue in India.

“India is a secular country with many religions and is a place where men and women do not engage the same way they do in the USA. There is a power distance between them,” said Desai.

Desai continued on to give his reasoning behind why young people in India are trying to change their environment.

“This generation, India is picking up western culture, and this brings changes in the society like women’s clothes and appearance and etc.,” Desai said. “There is nothing wrong with this but the men who are not educated enough are still stuck in the backward thinking way where women do not take part in activities outside the house and family and cover their body etc.”

Desai believes that such an act of violence is shocking. While these students were trying to fight against the years of oppression and violence their sisters, mothers, and grandmothers faced, the fact still stands that a man was murdered.

Jed Spurgeon is a JBU chemistry major and is from Chennai, India.

“I feel bad for India. It should be honoring to see India fight for justice and to abhor rape and discrimination, but not by violently killing a person and dragging him through the streets. Expecting reformation through violence and disobedience of the law is tenuous,” said Spurgeon.

“Although it is illegal to discriminate against women, police rarely enforce that. I do think that India is working to change their mentality and provide equal opportunities and status to women, but we have a long way to go,” said Spurgeon.

According to BBC News, this lack of effort by the police and society in general can be seen in the interviews that Leslee Udwin, the creator of India’s Daughter, conducted with the men who were charged with gang raping a woman.

The men she interviewed discussed the details of the rape as if it was dinner conversation and lacked any amount of remorse.

“When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy,” said Mukesh Singh, who is one of the men convicted of the rape.

Earlier in the interview he discussed how respectable women do not engage in activities past 9 p.m., and how the woman is more responsible for the rape than the man.

Udwin said the issue of violence against women in India is something ingrained in the tissue of the culture.

“When the boy child is nourished more than the girl, when a girl’s movements are restricted and her freedoms and choices are curtailed, when she is sent as a domestic slave to her husband’s home — if a girl is accorded no value, if a girl is worth less than a boy — then it stands to reason there will be men who believe they can do what they like with them,” Udwin said.