Are rape and molestation going to be part and parcel of New Year revelry? New Year is not only marked by illuminations and firecrackers, but drunken brawls, accidents and rapes as well! As the extent of celebration of this global festival has grown, its darker side is exposed more and more. As if Newton’s third law has come into force – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction! There more the celebrations, the more the untoward incidents, rape being one of them.

It was – and still is – Bangalore which has rocked the country not because of the New Year revelry but the mass molestation happened there. Amid the blame game, it is clear that average Indian mindset too immature and patriarchal to call it a civilised country. May be this land had seen civilisation once upon a time, but we are far from attaining that level again! While there is a growing number of youth who believe in equal rights and respect for men and women, the population of those having least regards for women is growing as well, may be at a faster rate. A large number of the latter are youth, who despite education (formal) failed to realise they have mothers and sisters at home too!

In Meghalaya, there were at least four incidents of rape and molestation around Christmas and New Year. In one of the incidents in Garo Hills, a constable is accused in raping a minor in a party held in a police infiltration check post. There are at least two gang rapes of minors. In one case at Mawryngkneng, around 30 km from Shillong, brother of a traditional chief (headman) is one of the six accused. All these incidents took place amid police searching for an MLA, who had left militancy to join ‘mainstream’, for sexual exploitation of a 14-year-old girl. Even the state home minister’s name is also dragged into the controversy as the sex racket was first busted in a guest house run by his son.

Meanwhile, another footage of molestation and hooliganism in Delhi on 31st night has hit the headlines. The boys, suspected to be students living in hostels, created such a ruckus that even the policemen on duty had to make good their escape. All this in the name of New Year! These ‘revelers’ want to mark the New Year with something that irritate, disturb, shame, hurt or even kill other people.  Celebrations are good, but too much of everything is bad. Perhaps, there is a need to give a relook at various festivities, besides the usual expectation from government authorities to ensure punishment for perpetrators of crimes during such celebrations.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on January 6, 2017)