Amrita, Arya show the way
T Satisan, Kochi
WHEN we browse the newspapers and TV channels what meet our eyes are always incidents non grata. The reference is to the alarming news about the atrocities on women and girls. Keralites faced a bolt from the blue a couple of weeks ago when they heard about the Delhi girl’s tragic story before they got free from the Soumya murder incident on board a train last year. Since, the Delhi incident lot of people are scared to read newspapers as they have lost strength to read and hear similar incidents on a daily basis. Every day couple of incidents.
Some time the attack is on an 85 year old woman; on other occasions, it is against two or three year old toddler. At last we came across an inevitable situation, that is, women and girls, cutting across age differences, think twice or thrice before travelling alone to a neighbouring town even in bright day light!
Even though Kerala drew infame and disgrace due to Soumya rape and murder incident last year (the accused Govinda Samy is in jail awaiting the execution of the capital punishment), two separate incidents in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram gives some silver lining in the otherwise dark and gloomy atmosphere. One is of Ms. Arya. BA (English Lit) final year student Arya is the heroine of the first episode. Arya is a student of Government Women’s College, Thiruvananthapuram. The programme was the valedictory function of the Value Enlightenment march organized by the state education department.
The key note address was given by the student police state trainer Dr. Rejithkumar. It was reported that he made an outspoken speech which turned blasphemous against the dignity of women. Rejith told a mammoth audience of 1500 students, 150 teachers and several policemen that ‘man can make a girl pregnant in 10 minutes, but she will take 10 months to deliver a baby’. He added that ‘if girl runs and jumps like a smart boy her uterus will turn around very badly’. This statement in an open function made everybody uncomfortable, but all kept quite. All the girls present got upset but as they were scared of their teachers and police they did not protest. But, Arya was not ready to take it like that. She asked her friends to join her in protest, but no one came out. So, she decided to protest alone. She hooted alone at the VIP and walked out of the hall. Everybody was taken by surprise, including the VIP speaker.
But, since everybody was scared to follow Arya, Rejith gathered presence of mind and again spoke in the same vein as before. He said that it is the way of dressing of the girls that pave the way for rape and molestation. It is reported that she had complained to the police station when an auto driver behaved to her in bad manner. At last he had to apologise to escape from legal problems. Arya’s hoot became a hot issue in Kerala assembly. Home minister Thiruvanchoor Radha-krishnan assured that his ministry was examining the terminologies used in Rejith’s speech and if objectionable matters are traced strict action would be taken. Social net works also highlighted Arya’s bold behavior. Lot of admirers displayed her picture and newspaper reports in face book for days together. Several prominent women activists like poet and environmentalist Prof. Sugathakumari, writer Prof.
Hrudayakumari, several artists and actors and known and unknown men and women still keep on calling her. Arya’s parents are all proud of their daughter’s pro-active character and boldness towards genuine causes.
The second incident is a clear and unforgettable warning to eve teasers and molesters. Here the star is Ms. Amrita, former chairperson of All Saints College Students Union, Thiruvananthapuram.
A degree student in the same college, she is NCC Air Wing Captain, karate black belt holder and kalari champion. She physically retaliated against two molesters when they showered obscene comments on her while she was having dinner with her friend and parents.
She was returning from the grand One Billion Rising programme which took place in Shangumukham beach. Amrita had led the motor bike rally in connection with the rising. Thousands of people who had got together to participate in the programme had enjoyed her martial arts demonstration that evening. The accused, reported to be government servants came to the restaurant where both the girls and their families were dining.
They uttered some abusive comments and left the place. They were travelling in a Government of Kerala vehicle. After some time they came back and repeated the same dirty drama.
On both occasions no onlookers interfered in the issue. When the drunkards repeated the dirty game, for Amrita it was the last straw. She got up and physically slapped both molesters. When they tasted the power of the determined girl’s fist, they had no other alternative than running away.
The matter was widely debated in the media. Now, Amrita is under the shower of congratulations and admirations. Parents have come to the extent of telling their daughters to live like Amrita. She is the only daughter of former RSS pracharak Mohankumar, Thiruvananthapuram. Her father inspired her to learn martial arts and she has bagged several prizes for instrument music in youth festivals. Recently she had acted in a Malayalam movie. Her role was of beating a molester.
The real incident took place hardly 4 days after the release of the movie. But, the story does not end here. Judicial First Class Magistrate III issued an order to the police to register a case against Amrita for taking law into hands. The temporary employees of [email protected] project had filed a private complaint against Amrita and magistrate ordered the police to register case accordingly for breaking the nose bone of a molester. The director of the project told mediapersons that the employees were not supposed to go out and had no right to take official vehicle out of the office without permission. Now, the employees are terminated from the services.
It is reported that the case registered against Amrita is for non bailable offences. This development naturally invited the wrath of all women activists cutting across party lines. Women leaders of CPM and Congress did not shy away from denouncing the actions of magistrate and police. Now the people of Kerala in general and women and girls in particular look forward to see how the case develops. Amrita told reporters that she is not afraid of legal proceedings. She said, she would face the consequences.
Organiser spoke to Mohankumar, Amrita’s father. He hopes that since the matter is genuine and the whole Kerala population is supporting Amrita’s stand, justice would prevail.