Do political protests over Jisha's death have any sincerity?
Jisha's brutal rape and murder is one of the most heinous incidents we have witnessed in recent times. Though the police suspect that she was attacked and killed by one person, unfortunately now she is being targeted by thousands.
I am amazed at the manner in which some sections of society are taking up this issue. How sincere are the outraged about this incident, I wonder.
With elections around the corner, political parties and fringe groups are queuing up to capitalise on Jisha's death. Everyone, from central ministers to political representatives of various commissions, flock to Jisha’s house and the hospital where her inconsolable mother is admitted.
Doctors have made it clear that these VIP visits are doing little other than disturbing Jisha's mother. It is evident to everyone that such visits are gimmicks for the election.
Currently, the ruling UDF is at the receiving end of the political fire while the LDF and the NDA are the beneficiaries. A short while ago, during the Neyattinkara by-polls, the UDF was the beneficiary when they capitalised the gruesome murder of TP Chandrasekharan, who had been ousted from the CPM.
While the principal opposition, LDF, wants to pay back what it had received at Neyattinkara, the BJP-led-NDA sees this is an opportunity to attract Dalit masses and they have already made significant inroads on this front. Central ministers, statutory teams and BJP party functionaries have already made a beeline towards the affected family.
A BJP delegation even met the Election Commission. One has to appreciate JP Nadda, the BJP Minister designated for the Kerala elections, for sharing the BJP's true intentions - they are going to capitalise on this issue.
The BJP's instant response not only troubles the ruling UDF but also disturbs the LDF as their strategy has not reached such an evolved phase yet. While it is true that the LDF is also steering protests against the incident in the streets and highlighting the mismanagement by the state authorities, once again we must ask the question - How sincere are they?
Jisha’s cruel murder brings to light several deep-rooted issues, which should not be narrowed down to election fodder or a mere failure of law and order.
There is the larger question about the treatment of Dalit women and the availability of social services. A few days ago in Kerala, a tribal woman in Wayanadu lost her child during delivery, because there were no ambulances available to take her to a hospital. Reports indicate that this was because fund allocations had not reached Wayandu tribal belts for special health schemes, due to which ambulances could not ply.
Such shortfalls in government services are merely the tip of the iceberg. As an example, one can consider Health Minister JP Nadda's written reply to a question in Parliament -
"According to the Rural Health Statistics report of 2014-15, there was a shortfall of 83.4% of surgeons, 76.3% of obstetricians and gynaecologists, 83.0% of physicians and 82.1% of paediatricians in the country,"
One wonders if the honourable minister, or anyone else for that matter, understands the true scope of the issue. But in this instant 'mobocracy' age, who has the time for larger issues?
S Biju is Assistant Executive Editor, Asianet News