Dear Kalpana and other friends:
There has been a disturbing trend in the kind of violence that touches the lives of our young people. In recent weeks we have all been exposed to traumatising news reports of children and youngsters - including two separate incidents, one involving an 8 year old, and another a 16 year old girl - who actually were alleged to have been directly responsible for the deaths of people!
And Bangalore has seen violence against women in public places, Mangalore a rash of communally-charged incidents of violence against women and young people. Today we saw reports of a girl student who attempted suicide because five of her hostel mates had "ragged" her. And numerous instances of "eve-teasing" are reported in the media regularly.
What is disturbing is the language used to describe these serious crimes. The impact on the victim is severe and long-lasting, even fatal, but we still persist in calling these crimes "ragging" and "teasing". It contributes to a feeling that the perpetrators can get away with what is literally murder or manslaughter, and contributes to a growing feeling of insecurity in society especially in the lives of children, women and young people in educational institutions. Extreme reactions such as was seen in Andhra with police conducting a fake encounter to deal extra-judicially with perpetrators of an acid attack are also part of the problem.
Clearly there are some serious and urgent issues for educationists, law enforcers, the judiciary, and not least the media to consider in these situations.