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I’m a woman and a kebab lover, and this is what I think about Yogi’s decisions

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I’m a woman and a kebab lover, born and raised in Uttar Pradesh and one who’s recently voted in the state’s election. My gender and my dietary choices become very important in what I’m about to share in the form of views on a couple of recent steps taken by the current Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath – closure of illegal slaughterhouses and the formation of the ‘anti-romeo’ squads for women’s safety.

The Lutyen’s media has turned its “The Eye of Sauron” on UP and like a well oiled ‘Orc’ machinery has started churning outrage after outrage demanding – freedom to run ILLEGAL businesses and freedom to HARASS women!

So first let me address this as a woman and share one story of mine as a young girl from UP. I was about 20, used to ride a TVS Superchamp and fairly independent thanks to my working parents and no available ‘bhai’ bodyguards cum chaperones to go about the daily routines of life.

On my way back from college one day I saw a guy on a bike tailing me (a very usual activity of men) and immediately I was on alert. He kept stalking me and I kept trying to speed away, unfortunately my TVS was hardly a match for his bike. Suddenly, before the turn towards VIP road he slowed down, came up right next to me. Stretched his left hand and squeezed my breast and rode away.

I’m shaking while typing this, had to take a break before starting again. It’s been more than a decade to that incident and I still feel as angry and as helpless…

That day I froze on my bike, I simply could not speed up and chase after him not that I’d have caught him. Forget a chase I couldn’t even scream because I was so shocked! Some guy just rode up to me, violated me and snatched away my freedom of space and dignity with impunity.

As you can see how vividly I remember the incident, you can tell how deeply it affected my psyche. I couldn’t share this horror and pain with my parents, what could they except for fearing even more for their young daughter’s safety when out on the roads?

This is just one story of one woman from UP, I’ve many many more such personal stories and thankfully I’ve been able to give it back plenty of times, but trust me there were and still are women who can’t. They just keep getting harassed and bear it or lock themselves up.

So as a victim of sexual predators in public spaces, I’m elated and welcome this step of Yogiji to create these Police safety squads to help women reclaim their right to public spaces. I don’t want to be stalked, followed, groped, pinched, dirty-talked, teased, stared at when I’m out there in the open – this is my basic human right.

I want to feel safe and at the same time I want those men out there to realize that I’m not an object for their perverse pleasures, and for that message to hit home a bit of strictness is required, so be it! The Lutyen’s media has got its knickers in a twist shouting “moral policing”.

Well, first mostly the mainstream media is a crazy sham, and second yes, there’s a chance that this move can be exploited. But hell, which law does not have a loophole? IPC – 498a? But if any, such exploitation can be checked and corrected. As a woman from UP, if I have to choose between a sexual assault free life vs chances of restrictions on teenage romancing… I’ll choose the former now and forever!

One of the better aspects of being an UPite is food. Gorgeous food! So yes, grew up on delectable chats, kachoris and kebabs. Have been eating at Tunday, Idris, Anand, Dastarkhan etc. before Barkha discovered them as her pet stops for bigoted journalism.

The entire Lutyen’s media is in a state of gastronomic shock hearing about the crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses; suddenly they’re all acting like those starving African kids on NGO posters being denied their share of daily meat… wait, they’re not even based in UP! So far all the news headlines I’ve come across, none of them specify that only illegal entities are getting sealed.

So as a UP wali meat eater Tunday lover what do I feel about this move? One word – brilliant. The reason is, like so many things I was completely unaware of the irregularities and illegalities in the state’s meat industry. Yes have always heard about those as once in awhile news and rumours about cattle theft and such but nothing on the scale of facts like – out of 126 slaughterhouses in the state, only 1 is legal!

Only Azam Khan’s stolen buffaloes ever made to the national media and parliament to be honest. This level of illegality is mind boggling, and as a consumer I’ve been contributing to this industry unknowingly for the longest time, but I don’t want to anymore. Yes I’ll miss my favourite food, but it’s better to be deprived of meat than be financing an illegal industry, and most normal people would share my opinion is what I strongly believe.

The other gut churning aspect of anything illegal especially food related is how unhygenically it must be done, because no checks or safety regulations in place. After knowing this aspect, do I really want to continue consuming such meat? Hell no.

I’m apalled that the mainstream media is still busy stoking fear and paranoia around these much needed steps of the new CM, and not already asking relevant questions on why and how these gross irregularities on both women’s safety and illegal businesses have been neglected by the previous governments.

But then as John Swinton so famously stated about the mainstream journalists – “We are intellectual prostitutes” and look how passionately they’re playing out that role.

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