India is once again up in arms about sexual violence after reports of a horrific rape case emerge. Pooja Mehta questions whether Mumbai really is the safest city for women.
By Pooja Mehta, India Correspondent
Once again, the horror strikes and this time it’s in my city, Mumbai. It was called one of the safest cities for women in India but on Thursday night it sent shivers down my spine when I heard of a photojournalist being gang-raped.
On the evening of 22 August 2013, a 22-year-old photojournalist was on an official assignment along with her male colleague, when five men gang-raped her in an abandoned mill. Living in Mumbai all my life, it is surprising that an isolated place like Shakti Mills existed and such a horrendous crime could be committed right in the heart of the city. It is not that Mumbai is unknown for rapes or sexual abuse, but this gang-rape has definitely ruptured the city’s pride of being the safest for women.
From celebrities showing resentment on Twitter to politicians playing the blame game and the nation unifying to hold protest rallies against security for women across the country – one can’t help but get a sense of déjà vu.
The recent Mumbai incident was similar to the Delhi gang-rape on Dec 16, only the place and faces were different. The brutality, inhumanity and the pain a woman went through was the same.
Being a journalist myself and a proud Mumbaikar, one question that’s bothering me is: what now? Are we only going on to the streets with candles and protesting against the government, the law? Are we demanding strict punishments for the accused? Or are we just going to sit back, feel sorry and catch the same local tomorrow and forget yesterday?
As they say, be it bomb blasts or 26/11 terror attacks, Mumbai has the spirit to move on. But after this brutal act… should we move on? Should we not fight? Will anyone listen? What should we do?
Is anything ever going to change? Or are we waiting for other such cruel incidents to happen.
I am looking for the answers, which I can only hope to get. The answers which every woman in this country is awaiting for God know how many years.
So what are we going to do now?
BBC News has canvassed the opinions of Urvashi Butalia – a feminist writer and publisher – Priya Hingorani – a Supreme Court advocate – Rupa Subramanya – an economist and author – and others to discuss possible moves after the Mumbai case. The article can be seen here