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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nirbheek ~ the first of its kind for Indian women

The tragic incident on 16th Dec 2012 in Munirka and the sad plight of a 23 year old physiotherapy intern has moved the Nation…. the woman died from her injuries thirteen days later while undergoing emergency treatment in Singapore. All the accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused, Ram Singh, died in police custody in the Tihar Jail. One among them, a  juvenile was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment in a reform facility. The remaining were found guilty of rape and murder and  have been condemned  ~ that in short is the tragic story of ‘Nirbhaya’……

Heard of  ‘Nirbheek’ ?  ………  

There is news that – in order to curb growing incidents of crime against women in trains, North-Central Railway is distributing ’Nirbhaya Card’, which has contacts of Railway Police and other helpline numbers inscribed on it. The ATM-sized card is being distributed to all trains passing through Kanpur station, GRP sources said. The card has numbers of Uttar Pradesh women’s helpline, GRP police control room, GRP Lucknow Control room as well as of police stations under North—Central Railway division, the sources said.  “If a woman faces harassment in the train, she can dial the numbers given on the card and lodge her complaint. A team of GRP police in the next station would come to her help,” Circle Officer, GRP, Surinder Tiwari said.

‘Nirbheek’ is not a card………  it is stated that enquiries are pouring in for the 500 gm product priced approx $2,000. !!

Indian culture respects women and from the medieval period – there have been highly successful women in every walk of the society.  Yet they suffer harassment - is too well known.  To add to the insult, there is the news of alleged gang-rape of a Danish tourist who lost her way near New Delhi railway station.  Horror and shame revisited the capital on Tuesday, when a 51-year-old Danish tourist was repeatedly raped by eight-nine men in a garden just a stone's throw away from Connaught Place in the heart of the city. The crime occurred at a time when central Delhi was on high alert ahead of Republic Day celebrations.  Police have claimed to have arrested some of the culprits involved in the incident. 

Nirbheek meaning ‘bold’ is no ordinary equipment – it is a firearm – it is India's first handgun for women; named in tribute of the Delhi rape victim, Nirbhaya.  Production is already underway in the Indian Ordnance Factory belonging to India’s defense ministry in Kanpur in central India. The handy 0.32 bore revolver is made of the lighter titanium alloy, has a cylinder which can be easily flicked open with a button to insert bullets and can be snapped back shut just as effortlessly. The trigger pull is lighter. “It is easy to handle and fits nicely in a lady’s purse,” Chairman of the Ordnance Factory Board of India’s Ministry of Defence is quoted as saying.

There has been criticism on naming it after the victim. Binalakshmi Nepram, founder of the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, strongly objected to the weapon, stating it  was ‘an abhorrence to [the Delhi student’s] memory’. Sad that people have to trust a gun for their safety ~ and whether that at least can give real protection seems to be the Q !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th Jan 2014

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