1. WHAT HAPPENED> Gurmehar Kaur launched a #ProfileForPeace campaign in April 2016, advocating peace between India and Pakistan in the video. The video went viral on February 2017, after Gurmehar came forward with a social media message against the violence done by ABVP in Delhi University
2. WHAT FOLLOWED > She has been trolled into silence, and has reportedly left Delhi due to rape and death threats.
3. ANALYSIS :
(i) INTOLERANCE TO ONE’S VIEW: It reflects as to what is the culture at the national level. It has become increasingly clear that politics of intolerance and bullying is taking over liberalism and citizen’s right to speech. The question is are we evolving as a country or going back to the medieval times where dissent was not allowed. More so a dissent from a women?
Free speech is not meant only for those who agree with a dominant view; it matters most when it comes to unpopular, minority views.
True, the Constitution places reasonable restrictions on this freedom, on grounds of sovereignty and national integrity, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency, defamation and incitement to an offence.
What if the state merely used the public order proviso to gag the minority opinion, that would still fall short of defending the right to freedom of expression. (ii)GENDER DISCRIMINATION:
According to a UN report, the percentage of women in national parliaments has nearly doubled in the past 20 years — a mere 22 per cent in actual terms.
Of late, women’s voices are being silenced in devious ways, thanks to the social media. Instances of trolling, body shaming, stalking, and threats of death, rape and other sexual attacks in cyberspace are growing.
Gender equality should be the concern of every citizen and not women alone. It should also be the endeavour of one and all to strive for equal work, equal pay, equal property and equal empowerment for women and eliminate every form of bias against them.
In India, the next step towards gender justice varies, depending on one’s location.
In some parts, it is ending female foeticide and getting girls into schools. In some circles, it is progressing to paternity leave.
In some religions, it is ending bias rooted in personal law, in others, it is bringing tradition and practice in line with reformed laws.
In a place like Nagaland, customary law precludes women from political leadership, putting it at odds with the basic spirit of the Constitution.
But all women live under the shadow of sexual violence in India, whether actresses, call centre executives working late in the office or returning home at dusk, rural women stepping out to relieve themselves or just about any woman deemed, as per the norms of patriarchal tradition, to be transgressing codes of propriety in terms of dress, place, time or the gender of her companion.
Stronger democracy is what all women need, along with men.
Click here to download to this article. TOMORROW : HATE SPEECH - LAW COMMISSION REPORT NO 267.