A transwoman in Delhi took off her shirt in ‘frustration’ yesterday after standing in a long queue to an ATM for an endless period of time, since the Government of the country theatrically announced banning of the highest denomination of the currency one day, without proper planning of its after-effects. Moments later, a female police constable reaches the scene, makes her ‘cover up’, ‘takes her away’, and helps her to withdraw money from another ATM – before everyone else in line before her. *facepalm*
Yes, you read that right. There’s a lesson in there for all us women who have been sanding under the sun for three hours to withdraw Rs 2,500 daily – STRIP! (Sorry, men, your nipples aren’t powerful enough that one flash, and it will destroy the public order, for the police to personally escort you to the front of the queue.)
On a serious note, two problems here. First, I have a feminist issue with this. Why is taking off a shirt by someone considered ‘protest’ enough for police-interference? I believe it was not the protest, but the means of the ‘protest’ which got someone to alert the police. She did not harm any civilian life like the Jat protests in Haryana, she was not sitting on a dharna blocking the roads, she did not even go on a hunger strike with danger to her life. What, I believe, the moral custodians of Indian culture will say she did do, was ‘morally corrupt the society’. But hey, I am only guessing here.
The first and the last time I saw this happening in India was during the Manorama rape case in Manipur when the magnitude of the crime and its protest were ten-fold — so comparing the two is like comparing oranges to apples.
And is the only way to “maintain public order” is by letting that one person withdraw cash? She protested “against the shortage of money all over the country,” according to an FT report. How does this solve the issue? And what message is the police giving? It is making mockery of all the other people who are standing in line like civilians despite some dying during it.
So the police is essentially like that teacher or parent who gives the goodies to a spoiled kid, because he creates a scene – while the other kid wonders if he is too decent. And if life is fair.