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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

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19 November, 2009

A Bad Name For The Family

The Times of India has a news report up about a 12-year-old-girl raped in a moving car. This happened in Palam, near the IGI airport in Delhi, where this seventh-standard girl was taken for a drive by her neighbours. “The car had tinted dark windows and I couldn’t see anything,” the girl said. She was raped by both men. A senior cop has been quoted as saying, “The accused threatened the girl not to report the matter to the police.”

And then:

The girl, however, recounted her ordeal to her parents who landed up at the Palam Village police station to lodge a case. The police initially refused to treat the complaint seriously as “that would bring a bad name to the family”, said the girl’s father, who works as a clerk in a private firm. [...]

It was not until the media intervened and senior officials were sounded that the arrests were carried out.

In an earlier post on a similar subject, I wrote that “our cops are generally an apathetic lot” and that they weren’t too responsive to people who weren’t “well heeled or well connected.” I then received disapproving emails from people, presumably connected to the internet, obviously writing in English, who insisted that from their personal experience, this was not so. The police had always helped them out. Well, duh.

Let me reiterate: for the vast majority of people in this country, the rule of law is notional. If you live in a slum and your rights are infringed by some local gangster, you’d have to be damn lucky to get any kind of justice. This is especially true for women. Indeed, out of the context of this particular case, imagine how hard it would be to be a single mother in a slum bringing up a couple of daughters. Think of the daily stress.

And think of the bad name your family could get.

Posted by Amit Varma in India | News

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