This year, our ever vigilant “Indian civil society” has played a leading role in raising awareness about how Holi has become a “festival of fear” for women.
This is always a good thing. Although I do not know how productive it is for civil society members to approach random men on social media and accuse them of throwing “semen filled balloons.”
This kind of outrage would perhaps be more productive if the same civil society could use its media empire to direct public outrage against so-called secular leaders of this country who actually commit crimes against women.
Like Samajwadi Party leader Hariom Yadav, an MLA of his party from Sirsaganj and his son Vijay. According to a report in the Times of India:
“In an FIR filed by the woman’s uncle, it has been alleged that Hariom, Vijay Pratap and 10 unidentified people took the woman with them in an SUV to celebrate Holi, but she never returned. When her father went to the MLA’s house to find his daughter’s whereabouts, he too didn’t return.
Pachokhara police booked Hariom and Vijay Pratap on Thursday under Sections 342 (wrongful confinement) and 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) of IPC and sections of the SC/ST Act.”
Abducting a Dalit woman in order to “celebrate Holi”? In fact, this particular Samajwadi Leader has been in trouble before. In December 2013, Hariom Yadav was accused of kidnapping and raping a minor girl from Agra. The minor was rescued from his house on Dec 26, 2013, more than after a month after she went missing on Nov 13.
Perhaps this is the kind of secular leader that our civil society should be raising awareness against, instead of throwing out accusations at absolutely random people on Twitter. It is bad enough to have people like this serving as elected MLAs, but what happens when such elements receive tacit support directly from well-known leaders?
According to a report in Amar Ujala:
Indeed, while in jail, MLA Hariom Yadav received a visit from none other than Akshay Yadav, who is a nephew of Mulayam Singh Yadav himself and a Samajwadi Party MP from Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh.
According to Amar Ujala, Akshay Yadav announced that the party was backing Hariom Yadav to the hilt and that BJP government is engaged in vendetta politics. He also reminded us that the Samajwadi Party supposedly never practices such vendetta politics and possibly also wanted to remind us that “boys will be boys.”
After all, Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav said it himself. I suppose he will now say that boys should be allowed to “celebrate Holi” and if that means kidnapping a Dalit woman, so be it.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.