Before we forget the Delhi rape, remember Lokpal.
It’s precisely one year, to the day, since Firstpost’s Venky Vembu wrote this piece ‘Stop dreaming of a Lokpal! Our MPs just gave us a ‘kick’.
Today, the Lokpal is all but forgotten, postponed each session of parliament to the next. Now, as the winter session of parliament ends, it has been scheduled for the budget session.
In early December 2011, there seemed to be no doubt that the Lokpal Bill would be passed thanks to the intense pressure from Team Anna, an apparently angry news media and citizens at large. The only debate was on how different the version passed would be from Team Anna’s version.
Politicians knew better. They understand the short memories of the news media — and of the citizens.
That has to end — both media and citizens need to remember — and keep remembering until there is palpable change.
The politicians have reacted precisely as they did with the Lokpal. Politicians of all hue have publicly aired their sympathy for the Delhi rape victim; they say that they understand the gravity of the situation and, now, many are demanding a special session of parliament to discuss the Delhi rape and, perhaps, to pass new laws that will see a dramatic change in the speed of justice. Arvind Kejriwal, for example, has called for a special session to pass a new law that would ensure trial and verdict on a rapist within two months.
Remember the Lokpal.
While the special session may or not be called, all those demanding change need to look beyond just this proposed new law. Politicians need to demonstrate their sincerity in the fight against violence against women.
“According to mandatory self-declarations filed by candidates with the Election Commission and tabulated by National Election Watch, India’s leading political parties have offered tickets to 27 candidates accused of rape and a whopping 260 candidates facing charges for crimes against women ranging from assault to harassment over the past five years. As a result, two members of the current parliament and six members of the various state legislative assemblies are facing rape charges, while 36 others face charges for lesser crimes against women,” says Globalpost.
The elected members of parliament and legislative assemblies who face charges of rape are from the leading political parties, including the Congress, BJP, ADMK, SP, BSP and the Trinamool Congress.
So, as a start, dear politician, why not fast-track all violence against women cases that involve MPs and MLAs? Let all these cases be heard on a day-to-day basis till the politicians are either cleared of the charges or found guilty and are sentenced.
That would send a signal that you are sincere in your own outrage against the Delhi rape.
And if you forget, we will remind you, time and again, till there is change.
We remember how we forgot the Lokpal. You got away with it once, but you won’t get away a second time.