'Peepli Live' in Badaun
For those who got to see the movie 'Peepli Live', the dropping in of leaders from almost known party in the Indian political landscape at Katra Sadatganj Village in Uttar Pradesh's Badaun District, to commiserate with the families of the two teenaged girls who were recently gangraped and murdered, seemed a real-life replay.
In the reel context, 'Peepli Live', was satirical comedy film produced in 2010 that explored the topic of farmer suicides, and the subsequent media and political response to it.
Cut to the last week of May 2014, and it was surreal to see the gangrape and hanging of two girls attracting a line of political leaders at separate intervals to the homes of the grief-stricken families of the victims' in Katra Sadatganj Village.
Those contacted on the ground on Monday said it was a 'Peepli Live' repeat, with Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Paswan the only leader to visit. They also informed on phone that there was no electricity in the entire village, and crowds of sympathisers are continuing to land at the doorsteps of the bereaved to commiserate over their unfortunate loss.
Shocked by gruesome incident, Sulabh International, which has done pioneering work in the field of sanitation, has decided to construct toilets in all households of the village.
At best, it can be seen as a better late than never compensatory response, which is not unusual when seen in the Indian context.
Last week's horrific crime took place because the teenaged girls had been taught and trained to go out of their homes and into the fields to answer nature's calls.
The founder of the non-governmental organisation, Bindeshwar Pathak, has also decided to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for support for the campaign to build toilets in each household across the country.
The two cousins, aged 14 and 15, went missing from their home last Tuesday and were found hanging from a mango tree the next day at the village— leading to nationwide outrage.
Cutting across party lines, politicians and many activists have criticized the Akhilesh Yadav-led state government for continuously deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
Apart from Paswan and his son Chirag, the other political heavyweights who have visited this tiny village in Badaun include Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Bahuja Samaj Party (BSP) chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Samajwadi Party leader Dharmendra Yadav to name a few.
Paswan described the incident as sad, and questioned as to why Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister hasn't even met the families of the victims.
"The UP CM is either scared of the people's reaction or is downplaying the incident," he said.
"There should be instant justice in the Badaun rape case." he added.
Mayawati has announced Rs. 5 lakh each to the victims' kin from her party's fund, claiming that though they had refused the government compensation, they would accept her assistance.
"The family members told me that the local MP came and offered compensation and all help, but they refused. They told that whatever I will give them, they will accept gladly," the BSP chief, who stayed at the victims' house for around 20 minutes, told media.
Alleging there was complete "jungle raj" in the state, the former state chief minister said: "The Badaun district in UP is reeling under a crime wave where criminals are roaming free."
Rahul Gandhi has demanded a CBI inquiry in the case, but also said delivery of justice is more important than an inquiry.
(Posted on 02-06-2014)